Enrico Castellani and Lee Ufan: Surfaces et Correspondences

1 May - 31 July 2015

Yohaku—Emptiness

 Lee Ufan

Art is poetry, criticism, and the transcendent. There are two different paths that lead to it. One is the embodiment of one's internal images. The other is the combining of one's inner thoughts and outer reality. There is also a third way, the exact reproduction of reality, but this approach precludes intimations and leaps of imagination, so I cannot accept it as art. I have chosen the second path, the path of encounter between inner and outer. What is important in this kind of art is to limit the parts of the work I make, accept the parts I do not make, and create a dynamic relationship in which these aspects both interpenetrate or repel each other. I hope that this relationship will lead to the opening up of a poetic, critical, and transcendent space.

I call this the art of yohaku— emptiness (resonant space).

What I mean by yohaku is not simply the space that is left vacant in the paintings of many painters. Such a space is lacking in reality. For example, if a drum is struck, the sound reverberates into empty space. The space of this vibration, including the drum, is what I call yohaku.

By the same principle, when the white space on a canvas is made to vibrate by the slight touch of a brush using a refined technique, people can perceive it as the real nature of painting. Paintings without a frame take on a relationship with the wall, and painterly reverberations spread out from them into the surrounding space.

This tendency is even more evident in sculpture. For example, if I give a strong accent to a space by combining a natural stone with a neutral steel plate, the air around the work, rather than the work itself, takes on density, and the site where these objects are placed vividly reveals itself as an open world.

Therefore, when the painted parts and the unpainted parts, the parts I make and the parts I do not make, the inner and the outer interact and reverberate in a mutually stimulating relationship, it is possible to sense poetry, criticism, and the transcendent in the space. Yohaku in a work of art refers to the space of an event that is opened up through an encounter between self and other.