Bae Bien-U

Bae, Bien-U who established his now acclaimed distinction for his tree-scapes, has explored his main subject, trees - especially Korean pine trees - for over two decades, and thus created a language of photographic landscape uniquely of his own. Instead of chasing the western methodology of photography, which has regarded the nature as a passive object captured by the viewer, Bae had interpreted nature as an autonomous being. Instead of being gazed at, Bae’s trees gaze back at us with noble presence. Bae’s pine trees are seldom seen as a whole, but rather parts of the stems, which as a result deliberate our limited life in comparison to the infinite existence of time and nature.

For the new works featured in this exhibition, the artist amplifies the surfaces of each tree, that furthermore connotes on aging of nature and our own. Through trees, the artist meditates, retrospects, and questions eternal values of our existence.

Ironically, it also eludes the sentimentality of Romanticism in its manner of approaching the sublime. There definitely is a nostalgic, contemplative viewpoint when the artist approaches the Korean terrain; that has suffered ages of pain due to consecutive wars, colonization and dictatorship. For the artist, although he has incorporated a camera as its tool, he is rather visiting the subjects in a painterly manner. His photography revives the philosophy behind Korean calligraphy paintings: humility in nature and time.

Bae, Bien-U is a key figure photo artist in Korea, and has influenced a generation of photographers during his many years of teaching. He has shown in numerous important museums including The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Thyssen Museum, Madrid, Bozar – Center for Fine Arts, Brussels and The Samsung Museum of Art LEEUM, Seoul. His works are also in the collections of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, and The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Texas among others.


since 1981

Professor in Photography, Seoul Institute of the Arts, Seoul, South Korea

Department of Photography Design / University of Applied Sciences, Bielefeld, Germany
Invited by Prof. G. Jaeger for one year of research Graduate School of Hong-ik University, Seoul, South Korea

Graduated from the Department of Industrial Arts Design

College of Arts / Hong-ik University, Seoul, South Korea
Graduated from the Department of Applied Arts

Selected solo exhibitions


„Bae Bien-U -分合 Part:Meet", Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Hong Kong, China

„Bae Bien-U – L'Esprit du Lieu", Musée de la Mer, Cannes, France


„Dans un forêt l'autre", Château de Chambord, Domain national de Chambord, France


„Counterbalance", Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium

„Sailing the seas" GS Yeulmaru, Yeosu, Korea
„Windscape" Christophe Guye Galerie, Zurich, Switzerland
„Windscape" Aando Fine Art, Berlin, Germany
„Windscape" Galerie PX, Paris, Ivry sur Seine, France
„BAE, BIEN-U" Art Sonje Museum, Gyeongju, Korea
Ferme de Villefavard en Limousin, France
„ConvexConcave" Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Antwerpen, Netherlands

„Where God and Man Collide" The House for Mozart, Salzburg Festival, Salzburg, Austria
„Bae Bien-U" II Woo Space, Seoul, South Korea

„Soul Garden" National Museum Of Contemporary Art Korea - Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea
„Soul Garden" Palacio de Carlos V. La Alhambra, Museo de Bellas Artes de Granada, Spain
„Sacred Wood" Galerie zur Stockeregg, Zurich, Switzerland 
„Sacred Wood" Aando Fine Art, Berlin, Germany

„Sacred Wood" BOZAR - Palais des Beaux-Arts / Paleis voor Schone Kunsten, Brussels, Belgium
„Sonamu (Pine Trees)" Gana Art New York, New York, United States

„Bae, Bien-U" Galería Álvaro Alcázar, Madrid, Spain 
„Bae Bien-U" Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain
„The 6th Photo Festival Bae Bien-U & Elger Esser" Gana Art Center, Seoul, South Korea

Rollo Gallery, London, United Kingdom
Pollar Gallery, Frankfurt, Germany 
Insa Art Center, Seoul, South Korea

„Tahiti" Gana-Beaubourg, Paris, France 
„Bae Bien-U" Kukje Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
„Wind of Tahiti" Galerie Gana-Beaubourg, Paris, France 
Gana Art Center, Seoul, South Korea

„Tahiti Festival de la Photographie" Tahiti Festival de la Photographie, Tahiti, French Polynesia 

„Photographies" Gana-Beaubourg, Paris, France 
„Bae Bien-U" Art Sonje Center, Seoul, South Korea

ISE Gallery, New York, United States

Galerie Bhak, Seoul, South Korea 
Sigong Gallery, Daegue, South Korea

OZ Galerie, Paris, France 
„Bae Bien-U, Photographies du Kyungju" Galerie Jean-Luc & Takako Richard, Paris, France

Seoul Art Center, Seoul, South Korea
Hochschule Gallery, Bielefeld, Germany

Raiffeisen Bank Gallery, Bamberg, Germany

Hanmadang Gallery, Seoul, South Korea

Kwan Hoon Gallery, Seoul, South Korea

Selected Group Exhibitions

„L’Arbre qui ne meurt pas" Théâtre des Sablon, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

„TRA - EDGE OF BECOMING" Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, Italy
„38°N SNOW SOUTH: KOREAN CONTEMPORARY ART" Galleri Charlotte Lund, Stockholm, Sweden

„The Wind in the Pines: 5000 Years of Korean Art" Hermitage Art Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
„Free Style: A Dialogue between Art and Design" Hongik University Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea
„Eternal Blinking" University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hawaii, United States

„Art in Busan" Busan Museum of Art, Busan, South Korea
„2009 International Photography Festival" Ulsan, South Korea
„Korean Contemporary Photographers: 2009 Odyssey" Hangaram Art Museum, Seoul, South Korea
„A Look at Contemporary Art" Artsonje Museum, Gyeongju Bomun, South Korea 
„In-finitum" Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, Italy

„Oasis" Gana Art Busan, Busan, South Korea 
„Sol LeWitt x2" Austin Museum of Art - AMOA, Austin, United States

„Void in Korean Art" Leeum - Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea 
„Five Contemporary Photographers - Landscapes in Black and White" National Museum of Contemporary Art Korea, Gwacheon, South Korea 
„I Encuentro entre dos Mares Bienal" São Paulo - Valencia, Spain
„ARCO Art Fair" Gana Art Gallery, Madrid, Spain

CentrePasquArt, Biel, Switzerland 
„Simply Beautiful" Kunsthaus CentrePasquArt - Centre d'Art, Biel, Switzerland 
„Photo España 06" Photo España, Madrid, Spain 
„ARCO Art Fair" Gana Art Gallery, Madrid, Spain
„The Modern Photography" Gwangju Museum of Art, Gwangju, South Korea

„Kim Jung-Man - Bae Bien-U - Ryu Ho-Yeol - Photographies" Gana-Beaubourg, Paris, France 
„Bae Bien-U & Kim Atta - exposition de photographie" Gana-Beaubourg, Paris, France 
„Art Paris" Paris, France 
„Photo London" Royal Academy of Art, London, United Kingdom
„Milano Art Fair" Milano, Italy
„Frankfurt Book Fair" Frankfurt, Germany

„Real Reality" Kukje Gallery, Seoul, South Korea 
„Bae Bien-U, KU Bon Chang, and Min Byung Hun" White Wall Gallery, Seoul, South Korea

„Time of Nature Time of Human" Daejeon Municipal Museum of Art, Daejeon, South Korea 
„People Walking on the Water" Cheonggyecheon Project, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea 
„Korea International Art Fair 2003" COEX, Seoul, South Korea 
„REAL - SCAPE Revisited" National Museum of Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, South Korea

„Botanique" PKM Gallery - Seoul, Seoul, South Korea 
„Now, What is photo" Gana Art Center, Seoul, South Korea 
„15 Photographes Coréens" Galerie Photo, Montpellier, France 
„Festival de la Photographie" Tahiti, French Polynesia

„Bae Bien-U, Jacqueline HASSIK - Photographies" Galerie Jean-Luc & Takako Richard, Paris, France 
Central Connecticut State University, Connecticut, United States
„Internationale Fototage in Herten" Herten, Germany

„Slowness of Speed" Artsonje Museum, Gyeongju Bomun, South Korea
„FotoFest 2000 - The Eighth International Month of Photography" FotoFest Biennial Houston, United States
„Slowness of Speed" Artsonje Center, Seoul, South Korea 
„Bae Bien-U, CHOI Jeong Hwa, Corée - entre tradition et modernité" Galerie Jean Luc & Takako Richard, Paris, France 
„Odense Foto Triennale" Odense,  Denmark

„Figure and Landscape in Korea" Hanlim Museum, Daejeon, South Korea 
„Commemorative Photograph Exhibition" The Korean Culture and Arts Foundation Art Museum, Seoul, South Korea
„Contemporary Asian Art Work from The Lewitt Collection" Montserrat College of Art Gallery, Massachusetts, United States

„Alienation and Assimilation" The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, United States
„Contemporary Art from Korea" Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany
„Slowness of Speed" National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

„The Vibrant Art Scene of the Republic of Korea" The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada 
„Inside Out" ICA, Philadelphia (PA), USA

„Photography-New Vision" National Museum of Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, South Korea 
„An Aspect of Korean Art in 1990's" The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan

„Photography Today" Art Sonje Museum, Kyungju, South Korea 
„Territory of Mind" Mito Art Tower, Ibaraki, Japan

„Visions from the Land of Morning Calm" PIMA Community College Art Gallery, Arizona, United States
„Contemporary Photography of Korea" Seoul Art Center, Seoul, South Korea

„Contemporary Photography in Seoul" Seoul Art Center, Seoul, South Korea

„Horizon of Korean Photography" Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea

„Horizon of Korean Photography" Total Museum of Art, Jang Heung, South Korea

„The 150th Anniversary of Photography Show" Bamberg Neue Residenz, Bamberg, Germany


National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan
The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, USA
The Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago, USA
21C Museum, Kentucky, USA
LEEUM Sam Sung Museum, Seoul, Korea
The Sol Le Witt Collection, USA
Elton John Collection, UK
Afinsa Collection, Germany
Isac Andic Ermay, MANGO Collection, Spain
SISLEY Collection, Italy
Calder Foundation, USA