Myoung Ho Lee - Photographs London Thursday, May 20, 2021 | Phillips

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  • 'I chose the tree because you see it every day but people forget it’s there.' —Myoung Ho Lee

    For Korean artist Myoung Ho Lee, the process of photographing his tree ‘portraits’ is a performance art in itself. He challenges us to see an ordinary tree in a new way by presenting it against a giant white canvas backdrop. While the concept is simple, the execution is complex. In addition to planning and construction, a full crew and industrial cranes are required to erect the backdrop, which isolates the tree from its environment. This intervention reveals the ‘personality’ of each tree as seen here in Tree #2. In contrast to the soft tones of its natural surroundings, the solitary tree in front of the white canvas is full of life with its vibrant colour and crisply defined shape. Behind it, the floating balloons echo the tree’s rounded forms while implying ‘another world, invisible but full of charming stories’. Based in Seoul, Lee has exhibited internationally, most recently at London’s Hayward Gallery in 2020, and his work resides in a number of institutions, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles and National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.

    • Provenance

      PYO Gallery, Seoul, 2011

    • Literature

      Foam Magazine #15: Construct, Summer 2008, cover
      A. Friesen, Speak For The Trees, Seattle: Marquand, 2009, cover
      ARTnews, April 2009, cover



Tree #2

Archival pigment print, mounted.
Image: 100 x 80.5 cm (39 3/8 x 31 3/4 in.)
Frame: 127 x 107 cm (50 x 42 1/8 in.)

Signed in ink, printed title, date, number AP 1/3 on an artist label with a Certificate of Authenticity, both accompanying the work.

This work is AP1 from the sold-out edition of 3 + 3 APs. This image is sold out in all sizes and editions. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles holds a smaller-sized print of this image.

Full Cataloguing

£10,000 - 15,000 

Sold for £25,200

Contact Specialist

Rachel Peart
Head of Department, London

Yuka Yamaji
Head of Photographs, Europe

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+44 20 7318 4092



London Auction 20 May 2021