Sunday, November 22, 2015

Tal Friend : Lee Dai-won Painter

Today is the tenth anniversary of the passing of Tals great friend Lee Dai-won. 1921 - 2005

Considered one of Korea's greatest artists, a painter, he was self taught. He used western techniques like pointilisme and impressionism, fauvism but was equally proficient with korean traditional techniques and brushwork.

To confine him to being only a "Korean artist" and not to recognize his international stature and importance outside the borders of his birthplace would be disingenuous at worst, ignorant at best ! 






No less a writer than Pierre Restany wrote of his admiration of Lee Dai-won's work.

"That deep nature of the universe which is the unique theme of his art and which beautifully projects the plenitude of joie de vivre. Such a message does not know any frontier. It is the basic affidavit of a universal emotion."

So how these two fellows, Lee Dai-won and Tal Streeter, came to be such close friends indeed continued such vibrant dialog despite their differing perspectives of art throughout their lives, is testament to their openness and trust in one another.

I think much of Pops attachment to nature came from seeing his friends Lee Dae Won's joyous observation of things close by.

As he got older, Pop too became much more attentive to the comings and goings of the natural world. The smallest little plant in his path was a direct connection to this earth while his writing often headed out far off into sky and stars








Lee Dai-won was no different. His sensitivity to nature and his surroundings were evident in his work from the very start.  

He shows great attention to even the smallest change in nature. Seasons, the sensation of time passing... all are treated with colorful energy !  It's my impression that color was everything to him ! Not a dark melancholic person Lee Dai-won !  Even in the wintertime he finds color !



                                              

The family pear orchard is right outside Lee Daiwon's studio, an exquisite traditional Korean farm house.


























Meticulously restored and filled inside and out with objects of great beauty, Lee Daiwon's studio is a place of "lived in" history of many generations.

The long painting above is a piece Lee Daiwon began just before his passing. Courageous no ? To start such a piece of such grandeur at 80 plus years.    


The two friends had many similar qualities. Lee Daiwon was an inveterate collector too ! I'm sure they goaded each other on in that department ! 

Should I blame Lee Dai-won for those 300 plus moktong (korean carpenters charcoal line drawing tool ) ? Was he as unapologetic about such things as Tal was ?  I hope to compare stories at some point with Lee Daiwon's daughters ! 

Lee Dai-won was someone of happy generous nature. Friendship meant a great deal to him. Pop loved his laughter and would beam w delight when he looked at a photograph of his friend. 


On his friends passing 10 years ago, Lee Daiwon's wife, Lee Hyun Geum, asked Tal to make a memorial to his friend to be placed in somewhere on the farm

"Stairway to the Heavens", installed in 2008 was Tal's offering. 

On the granite base Tal etched the drawing of Lee Dai-won's very first studio.

Rising up through the pear trees via a transparent nearly invisible column of glass, a small stair reaches even higher into the sky and heavens above. 

We recently visited the piece, and Lee Dai-won's studio thanks to our friend, painter Kim Yong-chol, a close friend to both men, indeed a lien to this past friendship. 



Kim Yong-chol carefully tends the wikipedia entry and the facebook page devoted to Lee Dai-won. 

He was also responsible for the restoration of Tal's Endless Smile at HongIk University ! And quite a host with such an understanding spirit during our recent trip to Korea this past October 2015. Taking us out to Paju, meeting the curators out at the MMCA Gwangeon Museum responsible for Tal's Dragon Stair. Ooo and all that delicious eating! I'll share more on that at some point on my cooking and looking paris blog!     


Out in Paju, Lee Daiwon's son in law keeps the studio and farm as if his father in law had just stepped out and would be returning shortly.  A bottle of scotch is there at the entry shared with friends but a moment ago. 

Those Paju Pears were certainly the finest I've ever had. 






-Lissa in Paris. 

      








Dreaming of pears, apples, chestnuts and pumpkins...the things of fall. 
                                                                                   The smell of leaves and friends.

  
Earlier days 2008.

My mother and I send our special thoughts to the Lee girls and their families. We hope that Lee Hyun Geum is comfortable and is able to find peace. We were sorry to have missed seeing her. We have great memories of her too. Her strength and support of her husband was evident to all.    



 

1 comment:

  1. Very nice and impressive post! The studio looks so different and unique in its styling and arrangements. The art works are distinctive and have a very appealing look.

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