Please join us for a public lecture on the life and work of artist Chung Sang-hwa, on the occasion of the closing of the first major exhibition in Los Angeles to focus on the artist's work.
Chung Sang-hwa's early paintings from the 1960s were made in the style of Art Informel, then prevalent in the Korean art scene and a local movement in its own right. This exhibition presents several very rare examples from this period -- colorful compositions with gestural mark-making that engage the negative space of the exposed canvas -- a prelude of work to come in future decades. In contrast to these works in the exhibition, a suite of monochromatic grid paintings hangs nearby, examples from a body of work now renowned and iconic of Chung's oeuvre. Between 1967 and 1992, Chung lived in Paris and Kobe, where he developed this aesthetically minimal and process-focused practice. After applying multiple layers of acrylic to the canvas, the artist draws a grid on the reverse and alternately rolls, compresses, and scores the canvas in order to crack the painted façade, thereafter using a knife to further chip away at the surface. Chung then fills in areas with different types of paint, the varying speeds of drying causing further cracks to emerge. This exhibition also features the artist's Frottage works, drawings made by rubbing graphite onto paper laid over his completed paintings. With its technique rooted in labor and repetitive gesture, Chung's work is central to the history of the Dansaekhwa movement that emerged in the midst of Korea's postwar material deprivations and its authoritarian political system. Although the term literally means "monochrome painting," it is defined by the methods employed as much as its reductionist aesthetics.
Chung Sang-hwa (b. 1932, Yeongdeok, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Korea) currently lives and works in Gyeonggi Province. He has had numerous solo exhibitions in Korea and internationally, most recently Painting Archeology at the Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, Saint-Étienne Métropole, France in 2011. Previously, the artist was featured in the survey From All Sides: Tansaekhwa on Abstraction, held at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles in 2014, and curated by Joan Kee, Associate Professor of History of Art at the University of Michigan. In 2016 he was included in Dansaekhwa and Minimalism, which traveled from Blum & Poe in Los Angeles to New York-the first exhibition to compare and contrast Korean monochromatic painting with American Minimalism. His work has also been included in landmark surveys such as When Process Becomes Form: Dansaekhwa and Korean Abstraction, Villa Empain - Boghossian Foundation, Brussels, Belgium (2016), and Dansaekhwa, Palazzo Contarini Polignac, Venice, Italy (2015). His paintings are in the collections of leading institutions such as the Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, Saint-Étienne Métropole, France; Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea; Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan; and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan.
Jung-Ah Woo is the current scholar-in-residence at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles and Associate Professor of Art History at the Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea.