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Dansaekhwa: Korean Monochrome Painting, at MMCA Gwacheon

A major retrospective of possibly modern Korea’s most representative artistic style:

Dansaekhwa: Korean Monochrome Painting

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon
17 March – 13 May 2012
Dansaekhwa exhibition banner

  • Highlights Korean monochrome paintings from the 1970s to the present in the largest such exhibition in Korea.
  • Landscape of the mind as embodied by monochrome painters of Korea for almost 40 years.
  • Exhibition comprising about 120 artworks by 31 representative painters of Korea.
  • Lectures by artists Lee U-fan and Park Seo-bo; a special lecture performance by Professor Yoon lin-sub; a tour of artist Lee Kang-so’s studio; and an international academic symposium.

The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea is set to host an exhibition under the title of Dansaekhwa: Korean Monochrome Paintings in its main building in Gwacheon between March 17 and May 13, 2012. Korea’s monochrome paintings from the 1970s to the present day will be highlighted in what will be the largest such exhibition in Korea. It will introduce artworks by seventeen artists, including Kim Hwan-ki, Quac In-sik, Park Seo-bo, Lee U-fan, Chung Sang-hwa, Chung Chang-sup, Yun Hyong-keun, and Ha Chong-hyun, all of whom belong to the early period of Korean monochrome painting, and works by a further fourteen artists, including Lee Kang-so, Moon Beom, Lee In-hyeon, Kim Tschun-su, and Noh Sang-kyoon, from the late period of Korean monochrome painting, as well as some 120 large-scale Dansaekhwa artworks collected by the National Museum of Contemporary Art. After the exhibition at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the works will be put on display at the Jeonbuk Museum of Art between June 8 and July 15, 2012.

One of the invited curators, a professor of Honam University named Yoon lin-sub, participated in the planning of the exhibition. Prof. Yoon lin-sub received the Grand Prize in the category of exhibition planning in 2000 for his planning of a special exhibition titled ‘An Aspect of Korean and Japanese Modern Art at the 3rd Gwangju Biennale in 2000, which highlighted Korean Monochrome Paintings. Korean monochrome paintings used to be referred to by various names including monotone painting and one-color plane painting, but this exhibition uses the word Dansaekhwa as the official term to denote monochrome painting. As such, it represents a first step towards establishing a branch of Korean art that can take center stage in the international art arena.

At the exhibition, a special exhibition hall containing only pure mono-color abstract paintings from the 1970s and 80s is a must visit. Visitors can see the progression of Dansaekhwa by comparing works from its early period with those from its mid and late periods. In particular, artist Lee Dong-youb’s best painting, Situation, will be exhibited to the general public for the first time. When the painting was presented during the first Independant in 1972, it was highly praised by the president of the Tokyo Gallery, Mr. Yamamoto Dakashi, who at that time was a member of the review committee for selecting artworks for the Paris Biennale. He commented, “This painting reminds me of the white porcelain of the Joseon Dynasty.”

Furthermore, the Dansaekhwa Archive, which is organized in such a way as to show the process of formation of Korea’s monochrome painting in one view, will help visitors understand Dansaekhwa. Some 300 materials related to Korean Dansaekhwa – such as exhibition catalogues, books, magazines, newspaper articles, and drawing descriptions -will be displayed. The status of Dansaekhwa in the art world is displayed in graphics on the wall, and interviews with artists and theorists are presented via five computer terminals. This Archive exhibition includes 33 domestic and overseas exhibition catalogues of great value in the history of Dansaekhwa, including the catalogue of the exhibition titled white Korea: five artists FIVE HINSEK (WHITE), which was hosted by the Tokyo Gallery in Japan in 1975, triggering the popularity of Korean Dansaekhwa in Japan.

This exhibition also comprises various educational and cultural events. Artist Lee U-fan, who exerted great influence on Korean Dansaekhwa while traveling back and forth between Korea and Japan during the 1970s, and artist Park Seo-bo, who played a major role in the Dansaekhwa movement during the same period, will give lectures for the general public at the Grand Auditorium of the museum in Gwacheon on March 17 and April 14, respectively. On March 24, invited curator Yoon Jin-sub, a performance artist, art critic and professor, will give an extraordinary lecture performance, titled Let’s Discuss Dansaekhwa through Performance. Furthermore, a tour of artist Lee Kang-so’s studio is also planned.

Finally, an international academic symposium on Dansaekhwa will be held on May 11 by renowned domestic and overseas art theorists and critics such as Oh Kwang-su (Chairman of Arts Council Korea), Seo Seong-rok (former President of International Association of Art Critics; Korea, professor at Andong National University), and Henry Meyrick Hughes (Honorary President of International Association of Art Critics). Reservations for these educational and cultural events are accepted online via the homepage of the National Museum of Contemporary Art.

(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.

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