The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, June 26, 2019


Galerie Perrotin opens second exhibition dedicated to the late Korean artist Chung Chang-Sup
Chung Chang-Sup, "Untitled”, 1992. Tak fiber on canvas, 260 x 390 cm / 102 3/8 x 153 17/32 inches. Courtesy Galerie Perrotin.

By: Violaine Boutet de Monvel


NEW YORK, NY.- Galerie Perrotin, New York presenting the second exhibition dedicated to the late Korean artist Chung Chang-Sup (Cheongju, 1927 – Seoul, 2011), following a first monographic show at Galerie Perrotin, Paris last summer.

The exhibition at the New York Gallery includes an ensemble of 19 paintings focusing on artworks from the early series Return and Meditation.

Born in 1927, Chung Chang-Sup is a prominent figure of the Dansaekhwa monochrome movement, a synthesis between traditional Korean spirit and Western abstraction, which emerged in the early 1970s. While it has remained to this day a driving force in Korean contemporary art, Dansaekhwa has also gained international recognition over the past few years. A selection of Chung Chang-Sup’s paintings was presented until last August along with that of Lee Ufan, Park Seo-Bo and other key masters at the Palazzo Contarini-Polignac for “Dansaekhwa”, an official collateral event in this year’s 56th Venice Biennial.

Although the Korean monochrome painting style has never been defined with a manifesto, the artists affiliated with it primarily share a restricted palette of neutral hues – namely white, beige and black –, which originated the umbrella term ‘dansaekhwa’ (literally ‘single color’). However, monochrome as such hasn’t been the main focus nor raison d’être of any of the Dansaekhwa leaders, whose unique ascetic vocabularies led to an overall aesthetics that is formally comparable to that of Western Minimalism: process prevails within the relentless repetition of geometrical or graphic patterns throughout their oeuvre. Parenthetically, Dansaekhwa and Minimalism both rose in reaction to either Art Informel or Abstract Expressionism, respectively, and meant to clear art of self-expression or the emotional outpouring that single strokes and vibrant colors used to carry. As a matter of fact, all the Dansaekhwa pioneers were formerly seen as practicing Art Informel, around the principles of which the latter had actually helped establishing in Seoul the Hyun-Dae Artists Association in 1957, hoping to enable young Korean artists to express their anguish in the immediate aftermath of the civil war.

That said, Dansaekhwa and Minimalism differ greatly in intent. Highly spiritual rather than purely conceptual, the quest behind the exceptional discipline of Korean monochrome painting isn’t that of ‘objectivity’, but that of ‘oneness’ between self and matter, which is essential to Asian philosophy, as opposed to the Western Cartesian premise of a split. Unlike Minimalist artists who used modular patterns to step away during the production phase, Chung Chang-Sup is known for his material emphasis of the natural fabric he chose to work and become ‘one’ with – hanji or tak paper –, and above all his complete physical engagement within the artworks in the making. With a strong determination to achieve the unity between self and matter and align his art with nature, his lifelong repetition of gestures and patterns, as well as his uncompromising acknowledgement of the substantial act of painting, were the means of his meditative journey, similar to the strict routine of a Buddhist monk. “As a lone truth seeker gets a glimpse of the God, I believe that Oriental spiritualism and occidental materialism are harmonized on the crossroads of my lonely journey,”[1] the artist noted towards the end of his life.

In the mid-1970s, after having spent two decades exploring Art Informel and making oil paintings, Chung Chang-Sup turned away from the occidental techniques and initiated a series that he called Return, which literally implied “to the tradition”. From this point forward, he began experimenting with hanji, a Korean handcrafted fabric made out of the inner bark of Paper Mulberry tree, also known as tak. Historically and culturally, hanji was not only used as exquisite sheets in painting and calligraphy, but also in traditional Korean architecture as panes for windows and doors, like the house the artist grew up in. “Through the screen of tak paper, one can distinctly sense the wind, light and flow of time outside his or her room, which allowed us to experience both feelings of being inside and outside”[2], the artist recalled of his childhood. In other words, hanji in architecture had the unique property of being able to absorb and transmit nature from the outside to the inside, which made it the most suitable medium for Chung Chang-Sup to begin his journey towards self-enlightenment.

For the paintings of his series Return, which are highly evocative of traditional windows and doors, Chung Chang-Sup orderly applied square or rectangular sheets of hanji on canvases, the remaining blank contours of which he would then, for instance, cover with black ink, leaving the pigments and fabrics freely absorb each other and unite around the edges of the tak pieces of paper. Yet, he soon felt that the hanji sheets were still a mere frame, and supposed that it was because they had been handmade by someone else, preventing him to fully extend himself onto his paintings. So he decided to directly handle their raw material, which gave birth to his series Tak throughout the 1980s and paved the way for his latter and final one, Meditation, that extended from the early 1990s to his death, in 2011.

Thus for 40 years, Chung Chang-Sup worked solely with Paper Mulberry bark, which he soaked and rubbed in large vats of water installed in his studio, while monitoring the color variation of the washed fibers from their natural ocher to white. He would then proceed to the instinctive application and manipulation of the wet paste over the entire surfaces of his canvases, stretching and pressing it into whatever rough textures the material guided his fingers through and beyond the limitations of his ego. “In battering and kneading tak, I unknowingly put my breath, odour and finally my soul into the process, thus becoming a part of the process itself”[3], he stated.

Whereas only the sap of the tree produced the pale yellowish hues of the Tak rumpled ‘paintings without paint’, Chung Chang-Sup introduced other natural pigments in his series Meditation, essentially brown and black out of tobacco leaves and charcoal, as well as geometry, which symbolizes the harmony found in nature. For example, in the earliest paintings of the series, the artist used either a wooden stick or threads to incise the outlines of multiple squares arranged in a grid within the thick tak pulp all over his canvasses, while it wasn’t long before he would strictly focus on shaping, molding and flattening, the form of a single large square in the middle of all his monochrome compositions, as if tempering to his fingertips the surrounding yet united chaos. That is the inner and outer worlds, both literally and figuratively, coexisting in the same meditative and ecological vision.

Chung Chang-Sup’s oeuvre reflects his Taoist belief that the artist must balance material and nature in the unified act of making in order to reach harmony. The works in Meditation carry the architectural and spiritual resonances of hanji paper through the use of tak fiber in a total embrace with it in place of the artist’s ego.


[1] Chung Chang-Sup, ‘The World of my Paper Works”, in Chang-Sup Chung Retrospective, Gwacheon: National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea, 2010, p. 241.
[2] Ibid., p. 239.
[3] Ibid., p. 240.





Today's News

November 30, 2015

Scans point to hidden chamber possibly heralding discovery of Queen Nefertiti's mummy

Etchings by Peter Schuyff & Edda Renouf on view at Anders Wahlstedt Fine Art

The unsettling art of contemporary Cuban artist Carlos Luna, or the naughty boy's tricks

Forger claims Da Vinci masterpiece "La Bella Principessa" is supermarket checkout girl

Stedelijk Museum opens Isa Genzken's first major retrospective in the Netherlands

Calder stabiles among Post War and Contemporary Art highlights at Leslie Hindman

British artist Anish Kapoor exhibits three painted reliefs created at the Rijksmuseum

Sotheby's New York to offer an extraordinary collection of 18th- & 19th-century paintings

Eli Wilner & Company loaned 18 frames to Christie's Auction House for their American Paintings Auction

Exhibition of early paintings by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian opens at David Zwirner

Exhibition explores how animals considered exotic by the Georgians and early Victorians were depicted

Sotheby's Contemporary Art Auction offers works by César, Dubuffet, Riopelle, Zao Wou-Ki, Soulages

Antiquities Coalition initiative supports Egypt's museums in securing priceless patrimony

Franco-Swiss artist Valérie Favre's first exhibition in France since 2009 opens in Strasbourg

Exhibition of new paintings by Puerto Rican artist Angel Otero on view at Lehmann Maupin

Ennesima: An exhibition of seven exhibitions on Italian art opens at Triennale di Milano

Nominees announced for The Vincent Award 2016

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki reveals new directions in contemporary New Zealand painting

Exhibition of works by Sebastian Lloyd Rees on view at mother's tankstation

Major survey of artist Nari Ward open at Pérez Art Museum Miami

Profiles in History to offer the largest selection of master fantasy artist Frank Frazetta's drawings

December sale spans Le Brun attributed "Red Sea" to rouge Hermès to rare Tiffany

Bloomberg New Contemporaries opens at ICA, London

Galerie Perrotin opens second exhibition dedicated to the late Korean artist Chung Chang-Sup

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Art of early man found in the greatest meteor crater on earth

2.- Exhibition celebrates Helmut Newton's 50-year career through a rare and unseen collection of vintage prints

3.- World's most costly painting on Saudi prince's yacht: report

4.- Sotheby's celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing with an auction

5.- Domaine de Chantilly exhibits Leonardo da Vinci's 'Nude Mona Lisa'

6.- New book offers front-row seat to greatest concert in history

7.- The New York Botanical Garden opens its largest botanical exhibition ever

8.- The most famous car in the world: RM Sotheby's presents James Bond Aston Martin DB5

9.- Mexico unearths what may be historic recording of Frida Kahlo

10.- Exhibition of Pierre-Auguste Renoir's paintings marks centenary of his death



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez


Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful