Minimalist Artist Lee Ufan Opens His Own Art Center in Arles—His Third After Solo Spaces in Japan and Korea
The new location is in a 17th-century mansion in the city’s historic quarter, converted by the artist's friend and architect of choice, Tadao Ando.
The Minimalist artist Lee Ufan has opened a new space to show his work in Arles in the south of France. The art center is located at Hôtel Vernon, a large, 17th-century mansion in the city’s historic quarter that has been converted by Lee’s friend and architect of choice, Tadao Ando.
The mansion will house a permanent collection of Lee’s work, with ten sculptures from his series “Relatum” installed across the ground floor, where there is also a library and shop. Some 30 paintings hang on the second floor and three site-specific installations at the lower level are open to visitors by appointment only. There are temporary exhibition spaces for other artists on the third floor, as well as rooms for receptions and conferences.
Arles has long been a region that has inspired artists, among them Van Gogh and Gauguin. Lee’s own interest in the area stems from its ancient past. Towards the end of 2021, the artist staged “Requiem”, a special exhibition celebrating the 40 years since Arles was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Inspired by the picturesque ruins of Alyscamps, a large Roman necropolis, he presented 13 new works in conversation with the surviving sarcophagi.
And in the new art center, visitors will be able to see a ancient portrait bust believed to be of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius, which was discovered in a wall during the building’s restoration
Lee, who was born in Korea in 1936, currently lives and works in Paris, New York and Japan. He is best known as the founder of the Japanese avant-garde group Mono-ha, or “School of Things,” which emerged in the 1960s. The group explored natural and industrial materials and their relationship with the surrounding space.
Lee has previously established a personal museum in Naoshima in 2010, also designed by Ando, and the Lee Ufan Space at the Busan Museum of Art in 2015. To fund the Arles space, he set up an endowment fund supported by many of his friends, including Michel Enrici, the former director of France’s Maeght Foundation.
Follow Artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.