Lee Ufan honoured at Château La Coste

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Lee Ufan is the subject of an exhibition at the spectacular Château La Coste, located in the South of France, a few minutes away from Aix-en-Provence and nested near the iconic Sainte Victoire mountain.

Château La Coste is home to a number of site-specific commissions by artists and architects including Alexander Calder, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Louise Bourgeois, Tracey Emin, Tunga, Michael Stipe, Tatsuo Miyajima, Liam Gillick, Richard Serra, Frank Gehry and Lee Ufan, displayed in the 125 hectares park of vineyards and Villa La Coste, a new luxury hotel that will open to the public in summer 2016 and host a fantastic collection of artworks including Picasso.

Acclaimed architect Tadao Ando has designed the Art Centre of Château La Coste. A vast infinity pool of water hides an underground car park and offers a spectacular stage for an upper level which hosts a dramatic Louise Bourgeois spider. The Japanese architect’s signature style is reflected in the building through his quintessential smooth concrete walls marked by conical points, strong geometric and fluid lines respecting the environment of the site while at the same time enriching it through its remarkable simplicity. The interplay between interior and exterior is apparent everywhere in the property. Ando’s installation featuring identical columns disappearing beyond the building and into the vines appears to be a continuation of the main welcoming building. It adds elegance to the space. There’s a sense of peace and eternity at Château La Coste.

“What I tried to do here, because of the presence of Cézanne in Aix, is create new works close to nature.” Tadao Ando says. “I wanted to capture the same, very humble spirit of a Cézanne painting.”

In 2010, the Tadao Ando-designed Lee Ufan Museum opened in Naoshima, Japan. Housed within a custom-built gallery space designed by French architect Jean Michel Wilmotte, Lee Ufan’s display at Château La Coste is the second exhibition of Château La Coste’s art programme, which launched in 2015 with a solo show by Sean Scully.

“Space means the infinite….Buddhism teaches that being is possible only because there is also nothingness, and appearance coexists with disappearance.”[i]

Lee Ufan’s work, in theory and practice, demonstrates mastery at crossing boundaries and initiating poetic dialogues between cultures, nature, material and space. A founding member of Mono-ha (“Object School”) Lee Ufan’s work meditates on gesture and nature, giving rise to new perceptions.

Lee Ufan’s oeuvre is characterized by thoughtful iterations of gestures in slight variations, engaging in a contemplation of abstract forms and vivid restraint; manifesting in sculpture, paintings and works on paper.

Lee Ufan’s solo exhibition at Château La Coste, the artist’s first in France following his presentation at the Palace of Versailles in 2014, is in many ways an extension of House of Air, a permanent commission unveiled at the château in 2014. Located within an intimate, chapel-like space, where the walls served as a canvas to which Lee applied his distinctive brush strokes, the work is marked by a large stone near the entrance to the building. The house itself, designed specifically by Lee, offers visitors both a physical refuge and a place of reflection; a site of meditation and a pause for thought, where the views of the surrounding hills are framed by rows of vines.

The exhibition runs until 24 September 2016 and the permanent artworks, showcased across the property can be visited all year around.

 

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[i] Lee Ufan in Alexandra Munroe, “Stand Still A Moment,” Lee Ufan, Marking Infinity, exh. cat. (New York: Guggenheim Museum Publications, 2011), 30.
Images: © 2016, Calder Foundation, New York / DACS, London, or any other relevant international copyright societies.
Copyright Michael Stipe and Château La Coste.
Copyright Lee Ufan and Château La Coste.
Copyright Hiroshi Sugimoto and Château La Coste.
Copyright Frank Gehry and Château La Coste.