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Apr 8, 2024

The First Retrospective Exhibition in North America Honoring the Monochrome Master Cho Yong Ik

No 102, 1966, oil on canvas, 45.6” X 58.6”. Cho Yong Ik.

Cho Yong Ik (Korea, 1934-2023)

Gallery Chang in Manhattan, New York, will host the retrospective exhibition 'The Hidden Masterpiece: Cho Yong Ik 1934-2023', marking the first in North America since Cho Yong Ik's passing last year.

Cho Yong Ik is esteemed as a pivotal figure in the formation of contemporary Korean art, leading Korean abstract painting alongside major figures like Park Seo-bo, Chung Sang-Hwa, and Yun Hyong-keun. 

Born in 1934 in North Pyongan Province, he graduated from Seoul National University's Department of Painting and served as a professor at Chugye University for the Arts. Cho's participation in joint exhibitions such as those of the 'Korea Modern Art Association' and the '60s Art Association' in 1961 was pivotal for the development of Korean abstract art.

Lee Min Ji, Senior Curator at Gallery Chang, explained, "From the late 1950s to the 1980s, Cho Yong Ik showed the most vigorous activity as an artist. His participation in prestigious international exhibitions such as the 2nd Paris Biennale in 1961 and the Bienal Sao Paulo in 1967 helped introduce his name globally."

Though active alongside the first generation of monochrome painters from the 1960s, personal circumstances and illness in the early 2000s led Cho to step back from the art scene. However, his works have been reintroduced to acclaim, including solo exhibitions at the Sungkok Art Museum in 2016 and Olivier Malingue Gallery in London, and are currently featured in the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art's ongoing exhibition on 'Geometric Abstract Art in Korea'. He is being reassessed both domestically and internationally as a leading figure of the first generation of monochrome painters in Korea.

The Senior Curator noted, "This exhibition will showcase over 20 works, offering a valuable opportunity to explore his artistic world spanning 70 years and the developmental history of Korean abstract painting."

Furthermore, this exhibition anticipates significant attention from the global art community by presenting Cho Yong Ik's early Formel paintings such as <59-119> (1959) and <No 102> (1966), as well as representative works of Korean geometric abstraction like <72-112> (1973) and <72-113> (1973), never before shown anywhere in Korea or abroad.

[Source from THE KOREA DAILY press release, provided by Jongwon Park]

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