“From Lee Jung-seob to Park Su-geun, there are a lot of modern artists to take note of from the Korean War, but Lee Qoe-de is without a doubt the best among the group.”—Kim Young-jin(CEO of Artinside)
Who are the artists that represent Korean art of the 20th century? New York-based multimedia artist Paik Nam-june takes the grand title, and coming in second place is Lee Qoede, a painter who defected to North Korea. If you’ve lived in Seoul long enough, Paik Nam-june is no surprise, but who exactly is this mysterious Lee Qoede, who surpassed Kim Whan-ki? (There’s even a museum dedicated to his honor in Seoul) Unlike the artists that experienced the Korean War, Lee doesn’t use his paintings as a mere means to enforce his political opinions upon viewers. Often setting his oil paintings in the landscapes of Korea, the figures in his paintings unequivocally show his interest in Western art, as their bodies are proportional, and their flesh is voluminous.