The Korea Herald


Chung Sang-hwa's enduring art on show at Gallery Hyundai

By Park Yuna

Published : June 27, 2023 - 15:50

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An installation view of An installation view of "Chung Sang-hwa: Infinite Breath" at Gallery Hyundai in Seoul (courtesy of Gallery Hyundai)

Artist Chung Sang-hwa is one of Korea's leading art figures, whose process of repeatedly peeling clay from the canvas and filling in the gaps resembles his lifelong self-discipline as an artist.

Gallery Hyundai, which discovered Chung in Paris, has represented the artist since 1983 in Korea and abroad.

Chung Sang-hwa's Chung Sang-hwa's "Untitled," created in 1987 (Gallery Hyundai)

The exhibition, “Chung Sang-hwa: Infinite Breath,” is the artist's ninth solo exhibition at the gallery and the first in 10 years. The 40 pieces on display range from Chung’s early works in the 1970s to his latest works.

“Just as we go through difficult times, art is also born out of difficulties. Just as the outcome of a person’s life and how each of us has lived is very important, a painting is the same. That life force, that vitality, also exists in the artwork,” Chung said in a video interview released by the gallery.

Chung’s unique style of work came into shape in the 1970s. He applies 3 to 4 millimeters of clay on a canvas and carries out a repeated process of tearing off the dried clay and filling in the space left behind with acrylic or oil paint. The result is a monochromatic grid painting. The labor-intensive procedure also shows how the artist also experimented with flatness.

Chung Sang-hwa's Chung Sang-hwa's "Process-5," created in 2017 (Gallery Hyundai)

Along with “Chung Sang-hwa: Infinite Breath,” the gallery is presenting “The Beauty of Joseon’s White Porcelain Jegi and Contemporary Art: An Encounter,” showcasing the beauty of white porcelain pieces from the Joseon era.

The gallery has displayed the porcelain pieces alongside masterpieces by Korean contemporary artists, offering an immersive experience into the beauty of Korean art.

Both exhibitions run through July 16.