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Dansaekhwa master Park Seo-bo, diagnosed with lung cancer, has more painting to do

A space dedicated to the artist will be established in May next to Gizi Art Base in Seoul

By Park Yuna

Published : Feb. 26, 2023 - 16:15

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Park Seo-bo speaks in an interview with The Korea Herald on June 16, 2020 at Gizi Art Base in Seodaemun-gu, Seoul. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald) Park Seo-bo speaks in an interview with The Korea Herald on June 16, 2020 at Gizi Art Base in Seodaemun-gu, Seoul. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)

Korean contemporary art master Park Seo-bo has revealed that he was recently diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer, showing perseverance as a painter at the same time in saying he is full of passion and wants to focus on painting for the rest of his life.

“I try to walk and exercise a lot. This is not to live longer, rather, to paint more. I have lived enough, but I still have things that I wish to paint. I want to spend this time more meaningfully,” Park wrote on social media on Thursday.

The 91-year-old artist said nothing has changed, adding he was just diagnosed with lung cancer when he already has had dry coughs as he was aging. If he had to attribute the cancer to something, Park said it would be smoking.

“I had smoked all my life. And it was after I collapsed from a cardiac infarction when I quit smoking,” he said.

The artist pleaded with friends and the public not to call him out of worry, saying he would read letters cordially with his utmost sincerity while resting.

“I will let you know how I am this way (by sharing on social media) from time to time. Again, please do not call me, I want to draw a least one more line on a canvas,” he added.

Another space dedicated to the artist next to Gizi Art Base in Seodaemun-gu, Seoul where the artist resides, is set to open in May, according to the Gizi Foundation.

Park was a leader of the dansaekhwa movement, or “monochrome painting.” The art genre evolved from a loose group of artists in the late 1960s and the 1970s. Park has stressed three notions in dansaekhwa: purposeless action in painting, a repetitive exercise in meditation and material properties evolved from the meditation.

He has ceaselessly worked on his "Ecriture" series, which started with works that involved repeatedly drawing lines with a pencil on a canvas covered with white oil paint. Afterward, zigzag "Ecriture" in the 1980s and color "Ecriture" in the 2000s followed with variations.

Park unveiled his most recent 2.6-meter-wide "Ecriture" painting at the show “Danh Vo, Isamu Noguchi, Park Seo-bo” coinciding with the Venice Biennale last year, after working on the painting for three years.

The exhibition “Park Seo-bo” at White Cube West Palm Beach opened Saturday encompassing works from the 1970s to this year, which is the first exhibition of the artist in US after the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in 2019. It runs until April 1.

By Park Yuna (yunapark@heraldcorp.com)