Lee Ungno produced over 300 paintings when he was in prison. Of them, those produced in 1967, the year he was imprisoned, feature disorderly, fragmented, and entangled lines and forms, as if reflecting the confusion the artist faced at the time, in sharp contrast with his earlier works of calligraphic abstraction marked by delightful harmony and order. Whereas the later phase of his prison life was comparatively comfortable, with prison officers who, knowing that Lee was an internationally renowned artist, provided him with the materials he needed to continue engaging in artistic creation, his early days in prison were days of hardship. Despite his horrible situation, Lee Ungno strived to express his artistic inspiration with whatever materials he could find around him. In this painting, the artist applied white pigment to yellow paper to create forms by painting the space outside the forms he wanted to reveal to the viewer. The wildly rough lines filling the entire space and unidentifiable and confusing forms seem to express the difficult situation into which the artist was thrust at the time the artwork was produced.


  • Title: Composition
  • Creator: Lee Ungno
  • Date Created: 1967
  • Location: Lee Ungno Museum
  • Physical Dimensions: 88.6x55
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Ink and light colour on Korean paper

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps