LEE Kang-So graduated from Seoul National University Department of Painting in 1965. While he was working as a professor at Gyoengsang National University, in 1985, he moved to New York as a visiting professor and a visiting artist at SUNY Albany. Since then, in 1991, he participated in Triangle Artist Workshop, and from 1991 to 1992, he participated in International Studio Artist Program at NY PS1. LEE Kang-So has worked and achieved not only domestic but also international recognition.
LEE Kang-So is an experimental artist. He’s an artist who expresses his artistic philosophy through painting, printing, video art, performance art, three-dimensional environmental installation, photography, pottery, and other various artist forms. He is also an artist who wants to communicate with audiences through his art works. He portrays pure life form as it stands excluding any utilitarian values for his audiences can understand his works of art. He wants to depict the candid essence in life, which doesn’t belong to the concept of the complicated modernity.
In 1975, the world started to pay attention to the artist when he presented Untitled 75031, which was the performance using a livestock chicken, at the 9th Paris Biennale. He built a post in the middle of the exhibition hall and laid ashes around the post which anchored the chicken with a cord connected to one of its legs. During the biennale exhibition, the chicken slept and ate as it wants within the frame the artist built and the ashes on its legs left marks of its movement, and this was his presentation. He never eliminated or forced its action but built the controlled-space for the chicken to act on its intuition. Like Untitled 75031, he never created art works intentionally. His works has always been created genuinely and intuitively within the boundary the artist constructed.
The artist never deliberately creates his commonly-used motifs, ducks, boats, and deer. The artist moves his hands and brush stroke following his natural breathes without any other thought, and the forms become figures audiences can easily recognize as ducks, boats, and deer. Ducks could symbolize free spirits, or boats that look like ghost could be described as a metaphor for loneliness and psychological self-examination. However the artist never planned such metaphorical explanation, rather he wanted his audiences use imagination to understand and give their own definitions to his works, which were intuitively created for amusement. Ducks, boats, and deer are commonly used subjects in traditional oriental paintings. And his brush strokes remind us of traditional oriental paintings, but the artist actually uses acrylic and oil paintings instead of inks that are used in traditional oriental paintings.
The artist is often mistaken as abstract expressionism or minimalism because he weights the process of the creation than the actual creation itself. However, he cannot be described as only abstract expressionism or minimalism. The oriental philosophy the artist has naturally been exposed to since his childhood, is embedded into his works. This is one of reasons why we cannot define him just as an abstract expressionist or a minimalist in western terms.
Lee Kang-So’s works are featured in many premier institutions across the nation, which include Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Mie Museum of Art, Mieken, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, Daegu Art Museum, Daegu, Busan Museum of Art, Busan, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul and Ho-Am Art Museum, Yongin.