Lee Lee Nam


SeulgaeUboo - Happiness

About The Artist

South Korean artist, Lee Lee Nam creates innovative and dynamic aesthetic masterpieces by combining the use of technology with classic representations, using monitors to replace canvases and translating his work into "pure, moving image art". Born in 1969 at Damyang, Lee graduated with a Ph.D in 2007 from Yongsei University, Seoul, Korea.  His creations of post-modern video artwork are as fictitious as dreams overlapping reality and one's illusions, encompassing both the traditional and modern image. Lee's artistic displays are found in New York, Beijing, Germany, Washington, and he has held over 200 exhibitions worldwide.    

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To the beautiful tableau of "Mona Lisa," Lee adds a background of war, parachutes, a combat plane and bombs. Amidst the destroyed and smoky battlefield, Mona Lisa can only turn her astonished eyes to follow the airplane. Behind her mysterious smile is her puzzlement and worry over the world of fifty years later. This is how Lee creates a brand new story from familiar artpieces. In a digital eight-fold screen using LED monitors and traditional Asian folding screens, Lee transforms the static iconography of swans, butterflies and birds into moving images flowing from one screen to another. Stories passing through time and space are presented by delicate changes. By videos, Lee Lee Nam narrates a seemingly distant yet familiar, fantastical yet logical modern legend. Without any words, we can hear the new world symphony that the artist is looking for. The sound is present in the elegant flight of butterflies in a painting of flowers and birds, the oriole hopping between flowers and shrubs after rain. The audience is thus allowed to imagine infinite possibilities which extend beyond the monitors endlessly. His own creation of water-ink paintings enhances masterpieces with subtle additions like the reflection of sunlight and the glow of sunsets, changes of four seasons, floating clouds and combat airplanes in the skies, warships and submarines in the ocean, and flourishing, prosperous earth which extends along the mountain valley and allows the subjects in each scene to shift and crossover across space and time, marvelling viewers.

Public Collections

Office of the President, Republic of Korea
Geum-nam Road, Gwangju, Korea
Gwang-yang Art Center Wolchul Moutain Sculpture Park, Young-am, Korea
Dam-yang University, Dam-yang, Korea
Korea National Open University, Seoul, Korea
Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea
Chosun University, Gwangju, Korea
The MAY 18 Memorial Foudation KBS (Korea Broadcasting System)
Gwangju Museum of Art, Gwangju, Korea
Gyeonggido Museum of Art, Gyeonggido, Korea
Gwangju City Hall, Gwangju, Korea
The Embassy of Republic of Korea in Germany
The Embassy of Republic of Korea in U.S.A.
Haenam Dinosour Museum, Haenam County, Korea
SK Head office, Seoul, Korea


Revival of a famous picture in cyberspace

Postmodernism's originality, in addition to its unique creative base, incorporates recent styles, techniques and contemporary methods of expression - not the least of which is the use of the technological advancements of cyberspace. An easily identifiable aspect of postmodernism is the reworking of famous classical artworks, and the borrowing of partial segments of these images which reworks classical art to be more aligned with modern sensibilities.

This is the case with Lee Lee Nam's latest work where he introduces new meaning, modification and movement to famous classical art. Rather than parody traditional works or assume a critical attitude towards the cultural reality of the day, he assimilates his views in an affirmative manner to create a new or different story. The kernel of his revised vision relies on the power of technology and movement.

Lee vests new and vital power into famous classical art by administering technological insertions, and by substituting realistic movement for potential movement of an image for viewing on a screen. His adaptations span past centuries to recent decades. He doesn't pursue far-fetched or exaggerated changes but rather subtly conveys the impression his alterations are more an emphasis or extension of the original artist's intent.

Take, for example, Jan Vermeer van Delt's "Girl With A Pearl Earring" where he has added a single teardrop to the maiden's eye. That single teardrop empowers the original with a lyrical depth of sorrow felt by Vermeer van Delt and his servant in the throes of their hopeless love. The viewer directly experiences a subtle hyper-space-time transition that arouses heartfelt sympathy for the impossibility of a couple's love for each other. Lee's cyberspace embellishments can be further seen with a fly following the butterfly in Shinsaimdang's "Chochungdo", snow in Kim Hong-do's "Mukjukdo" and a swimmer becoming a fish in Monet's pond - all of which serve to heighten the impact of the artists' original images and introduce a new way of viewing the works.

Lee's creative approach through the hyper-space-time continuum can be likened to the medical act of a doctor arousing an unconscious patient from a physical surgical operation. The vitality of his art not only gives life to the spirit of the original classical images but also imbibes them with new meaning and contemporary commentary. 

Hee-rang Kim
Curator, Gwangju Museum of Art



Shinsegae Gallery, Gwangju 

Gwangju Museum of Art, Gwangju 

Gwangju Media and Culture Center, Gwangju 

Gwangju Media Art Center, Gwangju 

Seoul Arts Center Hangaram Museum, Seoul 

Gwangju Media Art Center, Gwangju 

Namdo Culture and Art Center, Gwangju 

Namdo Culture and Art Center, Gwangju 


"A Scene from A Memory: A Group Exhibition" featuring 16 Korean Artists at Ode to Art Contemporary
Various Artists
A Scene From A Memory -- "A Scene from a Memory" is set to be an unforgettable stamp of the Korean contemporary art scene in Singapore. With a roster of 16 internationally exhibited artists who have redefined the concept of scenery in their individual styles, the exhibition will showcase a unique, unexpected, and pleasantly surprising array of artworks that will transform how the audience perceive nature and their surroundings. From Jung Kwang Sik's aerial view of landscape carved on black granite to Lee Lee Nam's moving paintings on LED screens, and from Park Seung Mo's clever layering of individually cut steel mesh to Bahk Seon Ghi's floating charcoal pieces, the exhibition seeks to explore the boundless representations of sceneries and the objects that constitute them. In the end, it is when the viewer interacts with the scenery that the real representation begins. Date: 9 -- 15 May 2013 Artists: Bahk Seon Ghi, Cheong Kwang Ho, Choi Young Wook, Jung Kwang Sik, Kim Jong Hak, Kim Joon, Kong Sung Hoon, Lee Jae Hyo, Lee Hee Joong, Lee Jae Sam, Lee Lee Nam, Park Seung Mo, Park Sung Tae, Son Bong Chae, Yoo Bong Sang, Yoo Seung Ho


Various Artists
A Scene From A Memory

A Scene From A Memory is a group exhibition featuring the works of sixteen Korean artists including Jung Kwang Sik , Park Seung Mo

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