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Survey exhibition of Korean artist Minjung Kim opens in Venice
Minjung Kim, Red Mountain, 2014 (detail). Watercolour on mulberry Hanji paper. 38 x 66.5 cm. Courtesy the artist and Luxembourg & Dayan.

VENICE.- On the occasion of the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia, Luxembourg & Dayan presents Minjung Kim: The Light, The Shade, The Depth, a survey exhibition of the Korean artist’s works made over the last fifteen years, curated by the art historian Jean- Christophe Ammann.

Minjung Kim’s artworks exhibit a remarkable intricacy. Rice paper is painted, singed and exquisitely layered to create landscapes that reverberate with the light, depths and mists of perception; or is intricately wound and twisted generating abstract patterns that team with energy. Collaged out of numerous components, her works always subsume their individual elements into the sensibility of the whole. Using the skills and philosophies developed over decades, Minjung’s works on paper possess a complex materiality all of their own; combining her learning of the traditional oriental arts of watercolour and calligraphy in Korea, with an informed understanding of Western abstract expressionism from her studies in Milan.

The exhibition will identify three distinct groups within Minjung’s oeuvre: light flooded-mountain landscapes that shimmer through their diaphanous layers of sumi ink-painted and carefully charred paper; works with structures that adhere to the principle of order and disorder to create a myriad of individual constellations; and what Ammann characterizes as “the dance of the dervishes”, landscapes in which calm and tranquility are transposed into unrest by the dance of the brush in blue or red — a mark borne by the artist’s mood and honed by years of calligraphic training. Constancy and animism are opposite yet complimentary tensions in Minjung’s art, visualizing, as Ammann explains, “the past made present”. Whilst their subject matter is returned to again and again, her landscapes are each shaped by the emotionality of the artistic action and thus different in every work, describing the Eastern understanding of the world as not merely a collection of physical objects but as an infinite universe of processes. Energy is channeled through the extreme control of the artist’s brush, her pyrotechnic treatment of rice paper, her vivid use of colours and the animistic folds that writhe into three-dimensional islands, rosettes and constellations. Time – so evidently painstakingly expended in the making of these works – is a constant presence; a ritualistic embodiment in material as palpable as the depths these paper works attest.

Minjung Kim was born in Gwangju in the Republic of Korea in 1962. She studied Oriental calligraphy and painting allowing her to understand the fundamental precepts of the Asiatic speculative tradition. In 1985, she took her masters degree at Hong Ik University in Seoul prior to moving to Italy, where she studied at the Brera Academy in Milan. She has shown with Luxembourg & Dayan at Oko in New York and in a solo presentation at the 2014 Artgéneve. She has exhibited in a number of museums including Fondazione Palazzo Bricherasio, Torino; Museo Comunale, Ascona; Museum Sbygningen, Copenhagen, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds; Guanshan Yue Art Museum, Shenzhen; Macro - Museo Arte Contemporanea Rome; and her works can be found in several public and private collections. She lives and works in the south of France and the United States.

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