Lee Jin Woo, currently based in Paris, works with the stems from an environment of physical and mental exhaustion. The carbon in the paintings is compacted in transparent layers of Hanji paper and dragged with force by a metallic brush through a strenuous and repetitive movement. On the surface, it creates rough and steep reliefs referring to a possible interior landscape. It is this process of subtraction of charcoal and its spirit of alchemy that drives Lee Jin Woo’s work into silence: A silence that transforms the “object” into abstraction. Lee intends to suppress all cognitive will to approach the inner ‘I’. As in the black paintings of Ad Reinhard, or the Rothko Chapel in Houston, the eye must interact to the depth of the work. A careful, prolonged, and deep look is necessary to approach the spiritual.
Through intense physical labor, Lee Jin Woo negates a certain formal intention to channel his energy into the process of making art. His work is intuitive and open, always untitled. For Lee Jin Woo the artistic discipline is not a purpose in itself, but a channel of meditation where he develops his work in long periods of development, becoming a philosophy of life. In this process of personal alchemy, Lee Jin Woo, conscious of the essence of the charcoal, used it to generate visual and mental landscapes that echo the origin and end of man’s existence. The ambivalence between a contemplative dimension and a descriptive one, come together in his compositions.
Lee Jin Woo was invited to many solo exhibitions including "Towards Silence" at HdM Gallery in London, UK; Michel Soskine Inc in Madrid, Spain; "Eranthis" at Galerie Maria Lund in Paris, France; BTAP Tokyo Gallery in Tokyo, Japan; Chosun Ilbo Gallery in Seoul, Korea; and H.T Gallery in Beijing, China, among many. Lee Jin Woo's works were invited to exhibited in numerous group exhibitions internationally, including "Walking on the white side" at Instituttto Coreano in Italia, Rome, Italy; "Escale coreenne" at Musee Cernuschi in Paris, France; Art Basel in Hong Kong, Art Basel in Miami, and Art Paris Art Fair in France. Lee's works were invited to KIAF art Seoul almost every year since 2009.
Lee Jin Woo received a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Sejong, South Korea, in 1983 and also from the University of Paris VIII in 1986. He currently has his studio in Paris and have traveled to Beijing and Seoul in recent years.