The Korea Herald


Artist lights up traditional colors

By Park Min-young

Published : April 3, 2011 - 19:02

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South Korean artist Lee Kye-song, known as the “painter of light,” is showcasing around 50 oil paintings at his solo exhibition at Insa Art Center in Gwanhun-dong, central Seoul.

Lee uses “obangsaek,” or the five traditional Korean colors of white, black, red, blue and yellow, in a very modern way which resembles splashes of LED light.

“The paintings on show are very bright, like LED lights. As LED lights actually make plants grow, my paintings focus on emitting healthy lights to the viewers as well. In that sense, they should be spoken of more as medicines rather than paintings,” Lee told The Korea Herald. 
“Untitled” by Lee Kye-song. (Lee Kye-song) “Untitled” by Lee Kye-song. (Lee Kye-song)

The 62-year-old artist was born in and lives in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province. He was selected as the artist of 2011 by Merck Ltd. Korea, the Korean arm of the global pharmaceutical and chemical company.

The company printed Lee’s works on its 2011 calendar which was distributed to the company’s offices in 64 different countries, and sponsored this solo exhibition.

“After joining Merck Korea I met artist Kye-song Lee, who reminds me of the philosophy and tradition of Merck. He is a master when it comes to lines and light to express balance and harmony. He paints by using five traditional oriental colors. Merck combines traditional skills with state of the art technology to create innovative solutions for its valued partners,” said Juergen Koenig, president and representative director of Merck Ltd.

The exhibition runs through Tuesday at Insa Art Center in Gwanhun-dong, central Seoul. For more information, call (02) 736-1020 or visit

By Park Min-young  (