Feb 26, 2021
Feb 26, 2021

Calligraphic Composition No. 18

Calligraphic Composition No. 18


Lee Ungno 이응로

(Korean, 1904–1989)

Pigment and cotton collage on paper

194.9 x 124.9 cm (76 3/4 x 49 3/16 in.)

Private Collection 54.2020



In 1967, Ungno Lee was accused of spying for North Korea and imprisoned for two and a half years in South Korea. When he returned to France in 1969, Lee started to incorporate calligraphy into his abstract collage works.

In this work, Lee laid cotton wool flat and pasted it onto fibrous Korean mulberry paper. Over that textured surface, the artist swiftly brushed a layer of white pigment and drew pseudo letters. They are not meant to be read but to amplify Lee’s unspeakable experience as an individual caught up in Korea’s Cold War politics and as an exiled artist.

See also
Korean Art
Korean Art
Type of artwork: 
Mixed Media
Credit line: 
Private Collection

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