Gyeongnam Art Museum
020 Highlighting Artists of Gyeongnam
Lee Sang-kap Birth Centennial Exhibition
2020. 7. 2 – 9.16
Exhibition Rooms 3F, GAM
The Gyeongnam Art Museum has been continuously holding annual Local Artist Highlighting exhibitions introducing work by artists from the Gyeongnam area whose accomplishments are worthy of the art world's recognition.
2020 is the birth centennial of the Masan-born painter Lee Sang-kap(1920-1996), who was part of the first generation of painters to lead Korea's post-liberation Korean painting and Gyeongnam's Western painting circles while spending most of his life in our area and also investing great efforts to growing his successors. To date, Lee Sang-kap has been known as a pioneer of the local art scene and an artist of dense folk qualities, and his work has occasionally been introduced, but there has not been a grand scale exhibition encompassing his life and work in general.
Therefore, in celebration of the artist's birth centennial this year, we have prepared an opportunity to comprehensively illuminate Lee's artistic universe by organizing his six-decade painting career.
Born in Masan's Jung-seong dong neighborhood in 1920, Lee Sang-kap graduated from Masan Public Normal School (currently Seongho Elementary School), attended Joongdong Middle School in Seoul, and moved to Japan in 1934, at age 14, to further his studies. He transferred to a middle school in Tokyo in 1936 and entered the Western painting department of Teikoku Art School (currently Musashino Art University) in Tokyo in April 1938, just before his secondary school graduation, and studied there for five years.
Afterwards, he returned to Korea in 1946 and worked as an art teacher for eight years in Seoul, Jeju-do, and Geochang in Gyeongnam Province, and he settled in his hometown of Masan in 1959 and pursued painting while also demonstrating a passionate side as an educator.
Lee Sang-kap's art mainly consists of figurative paintings closer to Impressionism than realism. He takes as his subject matter urban scenery, natural landscapes, and the people and farm animals in them, i.e., familiar objects we can easily find in our surroundings, and he used warm, soft colors over stable horizontal compositions to produce pastoral atmospheres.
For this exhibition, the GAM galleries 5 and 4 have been dedicated to the artist's early and middle years (1930-1980) and his late years (1980-1996), respectively, allowing an examination of the general flow of Lee's oeuvre with a focus on each period's representative work. Displayed in the exhibition hall space located in the third-floor lobby are selected drawings, watercolors, and small oil paintings from the artist's 1950s Geochang years, allowing more profound reflection on Lee Sang-kap's artistic universe.