For the second edition of Art Collaboration Kyoto, Blum & Poe is pleased to present a selection of works by Kwon Young-woo, Kenjirō Okazaki, and Yuji Ueda. This project is installed as part of a collaborative booth with Taipei-based gallery Each Modern.
Kwon Young-woo (b. 1926, Liwon, Hamgyeongnam-do, South Korea; d. 2013, Yongin, South Korea) is one of the leading figures of Dansaekhwa, the Korean monochrome painting movement of the 1970s. With a formal education in the tradition of ink painting, Kwon renegotiates the parameters of the medium and turns to the material qualities of hanji, or Korean mulberry paper. Through repeated puncturing, scratching, scraping, and tearing paper with his fingers, Kwon deftly forms syncopated ripples and constellations of tiny shreds where applications of gouache or ink gather at the ruptures. Kwon’s unprecedented style and experimentation helped him rapidly gain recognition overseas, including Japan. In 1965, his work was included in the Tokyo Biennale, and in 1975 he was featured in the landmark exhibition Five Korean Artists, Five Kinds of White at Tokyo Gallery. More recently, his work had been shown in Rhythm in Monochrome: Korean Abstract Painting, at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery in 2017, the largest survey of Korean art in Japan in decades.
Kenjirō Okazaki (b. 1955, Tokyo, Japan) has developed a wide range of interdisciplinary practices that transcend conventional artistic genres and classifications of art, including architecture, literary theory, painting, relief, sculpture, robotics, and contemporary dance. On the occasion of this fair, the artist shares two diptychs from his TOPICA PICTUS series, an expansive body of work consisting of small paintings developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite its compact size, each piece suggests a larger spatiotemporal plane, one where places, culture, and historical happenings are interwoven with the artist’s own memories. These compositions are formed by a tactile paint, the mixing of acrylic paints that reflect light within and onto the canvases through a wet, gel-like transparency and the thick textural application of pigment. This presentation directly follows the artist’s solo exhibition at Blum & Poe, Tokyo.
At the center of the booth is a collection of ceramic works by Yuji Ueda (b. 1975, Shigaraki, Shiga Prefecture, Japan). Raised in a family of tea producers in Shigaraki, a town adjacent to Kyoto known for its rich soil and ancient kilns, Ueda’s practice developed from a childhood of playing among abandoned kilns and an early apprenticeship with renowned potter Yasuhisa Kohyama. His native fluency in the firing process and intimate knowledge of the specific qualities of a variety of natural clays and glazes allow him to lean into his fixation with experimentation to create pieces astounding in form and texture. In this presentation, among peeling, stony orbs and vessels, a biomorphic alien form drips in neutral and colored glazes that vary between smooth and rough surfaces. Sandy layers of ceramic flake and curl to reveal an entirely different body emanating between its crevices, as though it were a physical embodiment of the process of ceramic-making itself.