Installation view of “Tokyo Gallery 70th Anniversary (Part 1),” Tokyo Gallery + BTAP Tokyo, October 24 - November 21, 2020
Courtesy of Tokyo Gallery + BTAP, photo by Kei Okano
Tokyo Gallery + BTAP
Tokyo Gallery was founded in 1950 as the first contemporary art gallery in Tokyo and in 2002 the gallery opened a new space, Beijing Tokyo Art Projects (BTAP), in the now-famous Beijing 798 Art District. Now operating as Tokyo Gallery + BTAP, the gallery has pioneered the introduction of Western avant-garde artists such as Lucio Fontana, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Yves Klein, and Jackson Pollock to Japan since the 1950s. The gallery has also promoted experimental projects by Japanese artists, including Taro Okamoto, Kazuo Shiraga, Jiro Takamatsu, and Mono-ha, all of whom are now internationally renowned.

Tokyo Gallery + BTAP has also introduced the works of Japanese artists to international audiences through organizing acclaimed exhibitions at major museums, collaborating with biennales, and participating in art fairs. In the 1970s, the gallery began working with Korean artists such as Kim Whanki, Lee Ufan, and Park Seobo, and in the late 1980s, it also started exhibiting yet-unknown Chinese artists, including Cai Guoqiang and Xu Bing. Inheriting this pioneering spirit, Tokyo Gallery + BTAP continues its mission of discovering and promoting both established and rising artists.
Tokyo Gallery + BTAP
7F 8-10-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Exhibition Information
Lee Jin Woo
November 4 – December 25
While still a student, Lee Jin Woo witnessed a volcanic eruption in Stromboli, Italy, which left a strong impression on him. He brought some volcanic ash back to Paris, where he was studying, and has since utilized it as a motif throughout his work. By placing hanji (Korean paper) on top of the charcoal and hitting it with an iron brush—and then repeating this process for many layers—Lee creates monochromatic surfaces with unique textures. The artist describes this process as a way to express “something” within himself without the intervention of his mind or his brain. For him, the repetition of intense labor seemed necessary to prevent the interference of preconceptions or running thoughts. As such, Lee’s work aligns with the values of repetition, training, and spirituality that are seen in Korean Dansaekhwa painting, which is now gaining recognition in the international art market. A selection of new works from his series “Untitled,” which he has been making with this process for over 30 years, will be on view in this exhibition at Tokyo Gallery + BTAP.

Lee Jin Woo was born in Seoul in 1959. After graduating from Sejong University in 1983, he went to France in 1986 and attended the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he is currently based.
Lee Jin Woo, Untitled, 2018
Courtesy of the artist and Tokyo Gallery + BTAP