On Lee Chang Min’s Solo Exhibition 2014  in space k 


Lee Jang Uk _ curator, space k in southkorea


 Here stands a cow with huge breasts almost about to burst. Such a size wouldn’t be necessary only for feeding calves.

Production activity for the industrial system has now become her summon and also the very reason why the cow has to produce more milk than it is supposed to for feeding the young.

 Animals and stages frequently appear in Lee’s art works. The animals are seen to show tricks to their full, sometimes rest with their family or even contemplate.

Among them some are depicted standing on a very narrow podium on the stage.

The  stage is provided as a maximum space for the actors where they can act and for the viewers as well. The protagonist on the stage is deprived of their private activities. We live within ‚the system’, the stage controlled by the Big Brother. 


The timely wage and wdlfare are just like narcotics and we cannot even feel the pain when the system controls and pokes into our everyday life. It is almost like going through a painless endoscopic treatment. There is some unknown suffocating heaviness that is laid upon one’s life but there are no screams and outcries because we don’t feel some conspicuous pang. There is tension going on where the door might be closed behind us forever once we left the stage but it cures us into considering pain as extravagance. However there exist human dignity, joy and sorrow even on the stage from which we cannot come down. Thus the beings come with ever more sublimity and beauty who constantly balance themselves not to fall in such tension.                                          

Two of Lee’s previous paintigs still linger on my mind. In one of them a monkey grabs balls in ist mouth and hands, showing tricks and in the other one a mother monkey is hanging from a single cable against the setting sun with her babies in her arms. The monkey running as hard as it can still grabbing three balls reminds me of the image of myself who make frantic attempts not to lose any of work, family and dream that are all hard to keep anyway.

From the image of the mother monkey that shared the destiny of all family members dangling from a single thin line, so thin that no one would know when it could break, I witnessed the gratness of being who makes his way balanced amid all the uncertainties. Lee’s fables of animals make the viewers look back at themselves a little detached from the everyday scene. Just as in the fables Aesop told us many years ago we try to choose the kind and color of bells while it is very unlikely to be able to hang them around the neck of the cat, and upon looking at the image of self reflected on a pond we end up in losing the fish in hand while trying to catch still bigger ones. The paintings of the show are on the same line. The scenes on the canvas that the artist has presented to us capture the image of ourselves who exist on the border between insecurity and greatness.

 The artist constructs events with thick matieres against a sleek background in which hues and tonal densities work together with a sense of velocity. Strokes and touches are swift and robust as in the case of oriental calligraphy where no additional touch is allowed for a single stroke. A single stroke renders a muscle, a branch or a roof. The impesto technique that is executed based on precise calculations much like that of pottery allows him to build up his unique painting style beyond traditional painting, and is instrumental in presenting the tension between environment and being and the balance of being on the border.

 These days there is an overflow of media, making the concept of art ever more blurred. The artist’s keen insight for understanding human being and his sincere attitude for painting make the exhibition truly stand out.


Für Chang Min



Ein paar kurze Sätze zu meinem Meisterschüler Chang Min Lee.

Sehr gut kann ich mich daran erinnern, wie er mir bei unserer ersten Begegnung 2004 seine Mappe zeigte, in der sich unter anderem realistische Aquarelle und Zeichnungen von Personen zum Teil mit Koffer, also Reisende, die auf einen Bus oder Zug zu warten schienen, befanden. Hintergrund und Umgebung waren weggelassen oder nur vage angedeutet. Es war eine der besten Bewerbungsmappen.


Chang Min Lee begann sofort mit Ölfarbe zu malen, machte aber auch ein paar Skulpturen, meist von Tieren sowie viele Zeichnungen, immer neugierig und experimentierfreudig.

Neben einigen kurzen Umwegen wurden Tiere in zum Teil absurden Situationen oder als Mischwesen und meist in  greller Farbigkeit ein Schwerpunktthema bei ihm.

Seine Arbeiten sind keine Pinselgrübeleien, sondern durchdachte und geplante Kompositionen, denen viele Studien vorausgehen. Trotz gestisch wirkender Malerei, teilweise mit dickem Farbauftrag sind die „Pinselhiebe“ sehr konzentriert gesetzt und so entsteht eine frische, freche und fulminante Malerei, vor allem frei von Modischem und selbstbewusst: So da bin ich - noch Fragen?


Seine kraftvollen Bilder schätze ich sehr und ich freue mich darüber, dass nach Abschluss des Studiums aus der Meisterschüler-Lehrer-Verhältnis eine Freundschaft unter Malerkollegen entstanden ist, die unter anderem auch die gemeinsame Liebe zur guten Küche verbindet.




Ralph Fleck im Februar 2012