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Hamburger Bahnhof – National Galerie der Gegenwart: Lee Ufan | 27.10.2023-10.03.2024

Editors’ Choice

Hamburger Bahnhof presents the first retrospective of the painter and sculptor Lee Ufan in Germany. Lee is one of the most important representatives of the Mono-ha school in Japan and the Dansaekhwa movement in Korea, which developed parallel to other minimalist art movements. The exhibition shows around 50 works from five decades of his creative work.

Fig. above: Lee Ufan, “Relatum,” 1979, cotton and steel wire, 60 x 250 x 400 cm, Lee Ufan Foundation Arles © Lee Ufan. Courtesy of Studio Lee Ufan / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023

Lee’s decades-long engagement with painting is the subject of an extraordinary highlight: Rembrandt’s famous “Self-Portrait with Velvet Barret” (1634) from the Berlin Gemäldegalerie is being shown for the first time at Hamburger Bahnhof and enters into a dialogue with Lee’s expansive installation “Relatum – The Mirror Road” (2016/2023). In this way, Lee’s art introduces visitors to the formative art currents of Japan and Korea in the 1970s and enables a new view of an icon of Western European art.

DEEDS NEWS - Hamburger Bahnhof - Lee Ufan - Chateau de Versailles (c) Lee Ufan - VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023
Lee Ufan, „Relatum – The Arch of Versailles,“ 2014, Stahl und Steine, Chateau de Versailles © Lee Ufan. Courtesy of Studio Lee Ufan / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023

The exhibition provides an insight into the work of the Korean artist Lee Ufan (born 1936, lives and works in Kamakura, Japan), almost 50 years after his first participation in an exhibition at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf. Lee’s philosophical writings influenced the artists’ collective Mono-ha (Engl: School of Things), which was active in Tokyo from 1968 to 1975. Mono-ha is one of the most influential styles of post-war art in Japan. In their sculptures and installations, the artists combined raw materials such as stones, branches or earth with industrial materials such as steel or glass. This understanding of art as a reordering of things is shown, for example, in Lee’s sculpture series “Relatum” (from 1968).

DEEDS NEWS - Hamburger Bahnhof - Lee Ufan - Courtesy of Studio Lee Ufan - VG Bild-Kunst - Bonn 2023
Lee Ufan, „Relatum – Silence,“ 2006, Stein und Leinwand, Höhe des Steins: 75cm, Leinwand: 227 x 182 cm, Lee Ufan Foundation Arles © Lee Ufan. Courtesy of Studio Lee Ufan / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023

In the Dansaekhwa movement, Korean artists from the mid-1970s onwards explored abstraction and materiality, especially in monochrome painting. Paintings from Lee’s series “From Point” (from 1973) and “From Line” (from 1978) bear witness to this. The sculpture “Relatum” (1977) from the collection of the National Gallery will be shown in the museum’s garden, the first time it has been on display in Berlin since 1985. During the exhibition, an artistic intervention by Lee will be shown in the Rembrandt Hall of the Gemäldegalerie. Lee, who repeatedly refers to European roots in his works, thus enters into a multi-layered dialogue with Rembrandt’s works.

Curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, Directors Hamburger Bahnhof. Assistant curators: Luisa Bachmann and Lisa Hörstmann, wiss. Museum Assistants i. F.

In collaboration with the Lee Ufan Foundation, Arles. With the generous support of the Friends of the National Gallery


Hamburger Bahnhof – National Gallery of Contemporary Art
Invalidenstrasse 50/51
10557 Berlin-Mitte


Opening: Thursday, 26.10.2023, 7 pm

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 10 am – 6 pm
Thursday 10am – 8pm
Saturday + Sunday 11am – 6pm

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