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Young artists give a twist to traditional Korean painting

“Replica: Simsajeong, Jungsun, Pachochunmyo, Chuilhanmyo” by Choi Hae-ri (16 Bungee)
“Replica: Simsajeong, Jungsun, Pachochunmyo, Chuilhanmyo” by Choi Hae-ri (16 Bungee)
Young artists are giving a new twist to traditional Korean painting with unique styles in both presentation and technique.

A variety of styles in traditional Korean painting have been explored by young artists who majored in Oriental painting as more strive to create something that better connects with the wider audience of today.

Choi Hae-ri, 34, is holding a replica exhibition through which the artist intends to connect the past and the future with something familiar to the public at 16 Bungee in Sagan-dong, Seoul.

She recreates paintings of Sim San-jeong, a prominent painter in the late Joseon period, as well as blue and white porcelain imagined as part of the collection of the Emperor Huizong of China’s Song Dynasty, who was a great patron of arts and a painter himself.

“I became very much interested in the life of Sim Sa-jeong,” said Choi. “He sort of developed his own unique style when Jeong Seon’s landscape painting style was the dominant style. And I was drawn to this figure who led his own way.”

She also created a collection of blue and white porcelain featuring bird and flower motifs, which were also the main painting subjects of Sim.

The ancient works revived in the hands of the young artist asks people of today about the meaning of art and how art is remembered.

Choi has kept the use of materials such as water colors, paper, silk and brushes in traditional manner, but she said she doesn’t want to limit her artwork to the category of Oriental paintings.

“I don’t want to be confined to the Oriental painting group, but want to explore various techniques and presentations that would be regarded as a methodology in contemporary art,” said Choi. 
“Time Track-Scorpius” by Jung Hai-yun (Gana Art Center)
“Time Track-Scorpius” by Jung Hai-yun (Gana Art Center)

Jung Hai-yun, 40, who graduated from the department of Oriental painting at Seoul National University in 2008, attempts to create a new approach to Oriental paintings as well.

Jung’s paintings resemble abstract paintings with geometric compositions and achromatic colors, but the materials she uses are purely based on traditional-color paints.

Jung, who attracted great attention in the local art scene with abstract drawer paintings, expands upon the concepts of previous paintings in the “Time Track” series at an exhibition that runs from Friday to Dec. 30 at Gana Art Center in Pyeongchang-dong, Seoul.

“I had this desire to create something totally different from the usual Oriental painting concepts,” said Jung. “But I present contemporary-style paintings while keeping the traditional use of materials and techniques,” she added.

She uses special paints she mixes with glue so that the color doesn’t become murky and thick, which is a result typical of applying multiple layers of colors in traditional ink paintings.

“I wanted to break out of the limit of the Oriental painting genre and explore new methods so that I can feely express my ideas,” said Jung.

Choi Hae-ri’s exhibition titled “It’s gonna rain” will continue through Dec. 30 at 16 Bungee (02-2287-3516) and Jung Hai-yun’s “Time Track” exhibition will run from Dec. 7-30 at Gana Art Center (02-720-1020), both in Seoul.

By Lee Woo-young  (