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Biography of Lee Hang Sung
The Korean painter and engraver Lee Hang Sung was born in Seoul in 1919. He began his artistic career as a painter, then moved to the world of printmaking in the late 1940s. At his first solo exhibition in 1951, the artist will present a set of polychrome lithographs. Beyond lithography, the artist immediately explored the great diversity of printing techniques, including woodcutting, engraving and silkscreen printing.
Lee Hang Sung became particularly interested in woodcutting in 1957. The artist will be a founding member and president of the Korean Graphic Arts Society established in Seoul in 1958; his work within this organization will significantly advance printmaking as an art form in Korea, increasingly tempering a Chinese influence to make work immediately perceptible. Over time, especially during the 1960s and 1970s, this creative field developed and a number of Korean printmakers saw their work attract international attention, becoming an important genre of Korean art in the 1980s.
Lee Hang Sung wished for another artistic environment; ready for a great upheaval, the artist moved to Paris, France in 1975. His abstract calligraphic engravings allowed him to acquire a certain notoriety.
Lee Hang Sung has regularly shown his work in numerous solo exhibitions: in Manila or Taipei (1960), in Seoul (1962, 1970, 1972, 1975), in Stockholm, Paris and New York (1974), then in Vienna and again in Paris (1977). Works by the artist have participated in international group exhibitions; in 1959, he won a prize at the International Print Biennial organized by the Cincinnati Museum of Art in the United States. Several of his works are also part of the collections of the Göteborg Art Museum, the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Bonn City Hall, Saarbrücken City Hall, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., among others.
« Passing Chinese silhouettes across an unreal world of signs and symbols. Love, freedom, death: as many meditation topics which inspire this Korean artist. Reality and dreams merge into an aura, a strange sensation of blurriness, of transparency which takes shape and extends beyond the mists of the Far East, » writes Jeanine Warnod, on the occasion of the retrospective of the artist in Paris in 1983.
In the last years of his life, Lee Hang Sung will be the author or co-author of several publications. The artist passed away in 1997.