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France / Versailles

Lee Ufan Versailles

Being and time: an open-air dialogue

After Giuseppe Penone in 2013, the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès is supporting a solo exhibition by Korean artist Lee Ufan, at the Palace of Versailles. Ten installations in stone and steel highlight the fantastical aspect of Le Nôtre's extraordinary landscape, as it reaches out to infinity. 

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Lee Ufan Versailles
© Tadzio

Lee Ufan has long dreamed of 'creating a work in the form of an arch, like a rainbow over a great road, and of walking from one end to the other.'  Relatum - L’Arche de Versailles is the realisation of that vision, opening the space of the park at Versailles to the earth and sky. Facing Le Nôtre's great perspective alignment, the installation highlights the intimation of infinity in this man-made landscape, forming a magisterial introduction to the exhibition Lee Ufan Versailles, supported by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès. 
Born in South Korea in 1936, Lee Ufan trained at the crossroads of multiple Asian influences – Japan, China and his native culture. As the founder and theorist of the Japanese movement Mono-Ha, his work is based on assemblages of objects and materials, with no intervention from the artist, beyond a close attention to their mutual relationships and environment. His sculptures combine stone – representing nature – and steel plate, symbolising the industrial society. Together these elements embody a dialogue between our living consciousness, and time.    

Inspired by his many walks through the palace and park, Lee Ufan has created ten installations. Each is conceived in relation to a specific context: the works' engagement with the landscape takes priority over their status as objects in their own right. Alfred Pacquement, the exhibition curator, stresses the exceptional character of the pieces, created specially for this project. The ensemble features 'configurations unprecedented in Lee Ufan's work to date', and sculptures 'on an exceptional scale, in response to the park's spaces.' One piece is named in honour of Versailles' presiding genius, the landscape designer André Le Nôtre.

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