Ha Chong-hyun | Daejeon Museum of Art, Daejeon, South Korea

September 29 – December 20, 2020

The Daejeon Museum of Art presents the 17th Lee Dong-Hoon Art Prize exhibition, Ha Chong-hyun. This exhibition is the first in Daejeon of the work of Ha Chong-hyun, a central figure in the Korean monochrome painting movement, “Tansaekhwa.”

“Ha Chong-hyun continues to push boundaries, and works with great passion to create his own distinctive world of art,” says Seon Seung-hye, director of the Daejeon Museum of Art. “This exhibition is also about the value of Korean contemporary art and is an opportunity to provide a place of reflection and empathy.”

Ha graduated from the Department of Painting at the prestigious Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea. Through various formal experiments, Ha developed a unique language that occupies a pivotal position in modern Korean abstract painting. In particular, Ha pushed paint forward from the back of the canvas, opening up a new plane and creating a new dialogue between materials and the artist’s hand. This method of applying pressure from the back is a manifestation of uniquely Korean sensibilities and aesthetics. Ha’s Conjunction series explores such paintings, and in their creation he looks to break the stereotype that canvas is meant only to be painted on rather than worked with. The materials are chosen intentionally: hemp is derived from burlap bags that carried grains after the Korean War, but is also used in traditional Eastern medicine; the interaction of paint with the hemp is reminiscent of the materials which made up the artist’s childhood home—a mixture of mud and straw. 

This exhibition includes a selection of 16 paintings, produced over a period of 60 years. It explores Art Informel, the first movement during which abstraction emerged in postwar Korea, and includes the very earliest works of Ha’s career beginning in the 1960s through the present, with four new paintings made in 2020.

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