In 1967, Lee Ungno was imprisoned for 2 years and 6 months for his involvement in the East Berlin Affair. He suffered most from an inability to continue his practice there; however, as he adjusted to the prison environment, he started painting on tissue using soy sauce as ink and making models with rice paste, which he collected from his meal. This painting shows one example of the Abstract Letter paintings that he made in prison using ink on hanji and then painting over the canvas with soy sauce as if testifying to his imprisonment. Unlike ink, soy sauce is not a proper pigment and thus, its colour is brownish rather than black when it is put on paper; as it is not rich enough to make a long spread, the canvas shows several marks where he had to resume the application of the soy sauce at each moment.


  • Title: Composition
  • Creator: Lee Ungno
  • Date Created: 1968
  • Location: Lee Ungno Museum
  • Physical Dimensions: 130x33cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Ink and soy sauce on Korean paper

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