Korean minimalism on view in Beijing

By Lee Woo-young
  • Published : Aug 21, 2014 - 20:14
  • Updated : Aug 21, 2014 - 20:16
“Slow, Same, Slow #2205” by Moon Beom
Moon jar by Lee Ki-jo

Korean minimalist abstract paintings and white porcelain moon jars are on exhibit at the Korean Culture Center in Beijing, offering an insight into the spirit and materials that form the basis of Korean modern art.

The exhibition “Empty Fulfillment: Materiality and Spirit of Korean Contemporary Art” showcases 11 Dansaekhwa paintings, minimalist abstract paintings and five moon jars ― white porcelains dubbed as such for resembling a full moon ― by modern ceramic masters.

“Korean Dansaekhwa paintings differ from Western minimalism and monochrome paintings. Minimal artists seek to achieve the pure simplicity while Korean Dansaekhwa artists seek to return to natural elements using warm monochrome colors that resemble the colors of moon jars,” said Chung Joon-mo, artistic director of the exhibition. 
Moon jar by Moon Pyeong (Korea Arts Management Service)
“Breath, Light - Smoke” by Kim Taek-sang

According to Chung, Korean Dansaekhwa is different from the Western minimal art or the Japanese Mono-ha in that they explore a meditative process of applying paints and accentuate materiality in pursuit of getting closer to nature.

The works on display include post-2000 paintings that inherit the spirit of the Dansaekhwa movement that flourished in the 1960s and 1970s in Korea. Artists include modern painting masters such as Ha Jong-hyun, Jeong Sang-hwa, Kim Taek-sang, Moon Beom and Min Byung-heon.

“The main feature of Dansaekhwa is visual tactility. The tactility being felt in Dansaekhwa paintings are created by materials used as well as layers of paints. The experience resembles looking at the surface of white moon jars,” explained Chung in the exhibition catalogue.

The free exhibition runs until Sept. 15 at the Korean Culture Center in Beijing. The exhibition, organized by the Korea Arts Management Service, will then tour the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany and Indonesia. It is to be held at Museum Kampa in Prague, Czech Republic, and Laznia Center for Contemporary Art in Gdansk, Poland, later this year.

By Lee Woo-young (wylee@heraldcorp.com)