GALO: You have written a few books on your artwork and philosophy, including poetry. Why is this form of expression of importance to you? Does it derive from your love of literature and your past desire to study it while in college?

LU: I still do hold [admiration for] the power of literature. That means that my works are poetic representations. If I decide to write, rather than produce artwork, it is because [of] the need to choose words over visual art forms, or because I think that words are better suited for the expression conceived. But in either case, art for art’s sake, or literature for letter’s sake, is not relevant to such statement.

GALO: You were one of the founders and the leader of the Mono-ha earth-art movement. I understand there is an interest and idea of blending nature and art together in it. Could you explain what the Mono-ha movement is in relation to art?

LU: One would be mistaken if Mono-ha was taken as integration between nature and art” — it was an endeavor to deconstruct modern art. In other words, it wasn’t absolutism of the so-called “almighty,” but a movement that contains the self and connects what is not made. As a result, this sort of thought leans toward more ecological conception in criticizing mass-production cultures.

GALO: In the past you were fighting as an artist and a political activist for various issues, including the approach to de-westernization. Is there anything that you are still fighting for presently?

LU: In my youth, I stood up against the military regime of (the third and fourth – translator’s note) Korea Republic and took part in reunification movements, and even composed a few words for them and participated in theater pieces. This has not so much in relation with the concept of de-westernization, but rather with overcoming the modern in the most global way possible. This thought has certainly had a lot of obstacles to surmount. Naturally my focus became concentrated more on the aesthetic dimensions of modernity than on socio-political ones. Every now and then, I am received as a blind supporter of Orientalism, but this is not true: I’d say I am neither Orientalist nor Europeanist, but am what I am as Lee Ufan.

GALO: Describe your art in three words.

LU: Modest, encounter, ecstasy.

GALO: You’ve been creating art for many years. What inspires and motivates you to produce new artwork?

LU: One would always need the power to perceive objects or the world in new ways, as well as ideas and courage that can enable [one] to sublimate it.

GALO: Do you believe that artistic creativity is something that one is born with or something that can be learned?

LU: Artistic sensitivity exists in everyone in one form or another. It sometimes reveals itself through creativity brought about by a certain moment of opportunity. Normally people do get moved by the beauty of a flower or a high mountain, but such appreciation does not necessarily expand to another generalized [and] sustained dimension.

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