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Gap Chul LEE

Gap Chul LEE, The Museum of Photography, Seoul


1959, Seoul





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Photographic KoreaⅡ_curated by Sun Young KIM
Gap Chul LEE

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Gap Chul Lee’s insolent camera work reveals the basic impulse repressed in a deserted place, the world of Shamanism, which is deeply rooted in Koreans’ collective unconsciousness. Demons, spirits, and the Qi of madness in folk beliefs, suppressed by western rationalism and pragmatism, are represented in his photos in various styles: sometimes it is captured in the form of dynamism as if the subject matter is flouncing off, sometimes in the form of wickedness, or sometimes in the form of modesty and bashfulness. From the heartless facial expression in an old man, who is slapping his middle aged son, the viewers may find an evil spirit in the face of the father, and from the well-set table for ancestral rites, they may find a deceased spirit. From the girls with flowers in their hair, they may feel the energy of insanity. Yook Myungshim, a senior and teacher, says, “Lee’s camera awakes the basic impulse of life hidden in our unconsciousness and clearly reveals spiritual factors of shamanism sleeping in Korean’s consciousness.” Lee’s photos convey the reality of our times, the ‘spirit possession of Chosun era,’ which has now vanished, is overlaid. His work process abandons on aesthetic considerations, and he approaches the objects of his photos more intuitively and directly, and hopes for the contingency of a moment. In this way, his work captures a moment of ‘vanished Chosun,’ despite the fact that his photos are only the index of reflected lights of the represented object, on black and white film. His framing prefers a rough cut rather than a detailed composition and clean finish, and his camera work is attracted to the power of chaos rather than a harmonious virtual world. These tendencies are the artist’s unique approaches to the presentation of photography. At the same time, they are a trace of sensitivity for Korean photography, and an artist who reveals Korean sentiments through the subjects of ‘humans,’ which is the theme of this exhibition.


1984 Shingu University, Department of Photography, Seongnam, Korea

Solo Exhibitions

2015 Silence and romance, Goeun Museum of Photography, Busan, Korea
2011 In Autumn, Ryugaheon Gallery, Seoul, Korea
2009 Conflict and Reaction, Andrew Bae Gallery, Chicago, United States
Gap-Chul Lee, Mokin Gallery, Seoul, Korea
2008 Face of Paris, Gallery Lux, Seoul, Korea
2007 Energy, The Museum of Photography, Seoul, Seoul, Korea
2002 Photography Exhibition by Gap-Chul Lee, The Museum of Photography, Seoul, Seoul, Korea
Conflict and Reaction, Kumho Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea
1998 The Land of the Others, Kyung-in Gallery, Seoul, Korea
1986 Images of the City, Hanmadang Gallery, Seoul, Korea
1984 Yankees on the Street, Hanmadang Gallery, Seoul, Korea

Group Exhibitions

2012 Documentary Style, Goeun Museum of Photography, Busan, Korea
The Origin, Goeun Museum of Photography, Busan, Korea
2011 Disappeared but Remained, Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney, Austrailia
Hanryew: 6 photographer of Korea, Aram Museum of Art, Goyang, Korea
2010 Chaotic Harmony: Korean Contemporary Photography, Santa Babara Museum of Fine Art, California, United States
2009 Chaotic Harmony: Korean Contemporary Photography, Museum of Fine Art Huston, Texas, United States
2009 Oddyssey, Seoul Arts Center, Seoul, Korea
2008 Contemporary Korean Photographs 1948-2008, National Museum of contemporary Art, Gwacheon, Korea
2007 1ere Biennale des images du monde, Musee du quai Branly, Paris, France
2006 Daegu Photo Biennale, Daegu EXCO, Daegu, Korea
2005 Three Korean Photographers, Gap City, GAP, France
Paris Photo, Musee du Louvre, Paris, France
2002 Photographe Contemporaine Coreenne, La Galerie Photo, Montpellier, France
2000 FOTOFEST 2000, Williams Tower Gallery, Texas, United States
1998 History of Korean Photography,, Seoul Arts Center, Seoul, Korea
1996 Photography As It Is, Samsung Photo Gallery, Seoul, Korea
Human Breath, Korea Cultural Center, Los Angeles, United States
1994 Visions From the Land of the Morning Calm Korea, Pima Community College Center for the Arts, Arizona, United States


National Museum of Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, Korea
The Museum of Photography, Seoul, Seoul, Korea
Kumho Art Museum, Seoul, Korea
Dong-gang Museum of Photography, Yeongwol, Korea
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California, United States