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K-Art Chronicles Spring Part I

Cho Yong Ik / Moon Insoo / Oh Kwan Jin / Kim Sea Joong
February 29 – April 10, 2024


  • Cho Yong Ik, a prominent figure in the realm of Korean monochrome art, is renowned for his exploration of the aesthetics of ‘revealing the void.’ His artistic method involves repetitive actions that embody a spirit of negation, resulting in works characterized by a delicate balance of traces and empty space created through the process of applying and erasing pigments, reflecting the process of discovering one’s own realm in accordance with the principles of a single stroke. Alongside other key figures in Korean monochrome art such as Park Seo Bo, Chung Sanghwa, Ha Chong Hyun, Yun Hyong Keun, and Jung Chang Sub, Cho Yong Ik has played a pivotal role in shaping the discourse surrounding Korean abstract painting. This exhibition not only unveils the hidden masters of monochrome art but also provides a comprehensive overview of the evolution of Korean abstract painting, positioning Cho Yong Ik’s works within the broader context of the genre’s development in Korea.

  • Moon Insoo, a Korean contemporary artist known as the ‘Sculptor of Steel and Concrete,’ stands out for his modern approach, unbounded by traditional styles. His upbringing amidst war’s aftermath shapes his work, reflecting themes of destruction and reconstruction. His sculptures are abstract and urban, often incorporating heavy steel plates and protruding rebar, reminiscent of his childhood surroundings. Typically assembled like large patchworks, they exude both strength and lyrical beauty. While they seem to collide with the forces of creation and destruction, they possess a simple yet profound beauty, preserving the artist’s effort and becoming more intimate over time as they weather and age. In 1986, he won the Grand Prize at the National Art Exhibition, marking the first time a sculptor achieved such recognition. His notable sculpture ‘Red Bull’ embodies a minimalist silhouette with a modernist aesthetic. Currently, his works are being exhibited at the Seoul Arts Center. This exhibition highlights Moon Insoo’s artistic prowess and innovative approach, cementing his legacy as a trailblazer in the world of sculpture. His unique perspective warrants attention and confidence in his future prominence.

  • Artist Oh Kwan Jin, a leading figure in Korean art, pioneers the fusion of Eastern and Western artistic techniques, evident in his signature motif of the moon jar symbolizing ‘Emptying and Filling.’ His artworks, featured in Korean dramas and movie sets, contribute to the global recognition of Korean art. Oh Kwan Jin’s innovative approach combines the chiaroscuro of Western painting with the aerial perspective of Eastern painting. He intricately carves hanji (traditional Korean paper) into pieces, blending stone powder and pigments to craft smooth ceramic forms on the background, filling cracks with clay, glaze, and wood fusion. This results in a three-dimensional screen that captivates viewers with optical illusions. Critic Park Ok Saeng notes that Oh Kwan Jin’s works, while embracing Eastern motifs, exhibit a painting attitude reminiscent of Western art, seen in the subtle light, deep shadows, and precise geometry evocative of vessels. Essentially, Oh Kwan Jin’s paintings expand the act of Eastern painting on hanji to the craft of bas-relief, presenting a transition towards Western painting through the scientific depiction of light reflection.

  • Recognized as a prominent figure in the global art scene, Kim Sea Joong is celebrated as the “Painter of Light,” famed for his profound exploration of light, space, and time. Kim’s artistic exploration delves into the concepts of space within the frameworks of squares and circles while also exploring diverse spatial notions. Employing various materials within these confines, he tears, folds, and inserts them to create new spatial structures, forming novel relationships within the space. Simultaneously, Kim reflects on the emotional impact of colors, interpreting flat elements into three-dimensional forms and juxtaposing real objects with their shadows to rediscover flat surfaces. Inspired by the French literary term “Préciosité,” embodying a longing for elegance, refinement, wit, intellect, and beauty, Kim’s works embody a pursuit of extreme beauty. By combining painting and sculpture, he transcends their limitations to create unique artworks that engage viewers in discovering new dimensions of time and space. Through meticulous processes and vibrant colors, Kim invites viewers to participate in the exploration of beauty and space, ultimately redefining spatial relationships and undergoing transformations within exhibition spaces. Kim Sea Joong is a leading figure shaping the future of contemporary Korean art as a member of Gana Art.

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