Korean artist Kwon Young-Woo, a pioneer in the development of the monochromatic art movement Dansaekhwa, will have a solo exhibition at Kukje Gallery — opening on October 30th. Well known both within Korea and internationally, Kwon Young-Woo’s paintings investigate the limitations of two-dimensional surfaces and explore the relationship between traditional materials and abstract expression,functioning as a threshold between time and dimensional space.
The exhibition will include over thirty of Kwon Young-Woo’s works on paper, dating from 1976 through 1996, with the majority from the 1980’s.
One of the few artists associated with Dansaekhwa trained in the historic tradition of Chinese ink painting, Kwon’s innovative practice bridged Korea’s nascent avant-garde and the Western traditions of abstract expressionism and art informel. He did this while still experimenting with and refining traditional materials, especially hanjipaper. Choosing to use paper both as a ground and as a sculptural medium, Kwon challenged its traditional role by employing his fingernails to scratch and tear the fibers, developing his own highly refined gestural vocabulary; he then glued the paper onto panels, establishing a base for his compositions and transforming the flat surfaces into three-dimensional reliefs.
Having scarred the paper with these physical performances, the artist then introduced ink as a dynamic medium to mark and trace his actions. Seeking to create a sense of harmony between medium and surface, Kwon took advantage of the ink’s qualities, exploiting how it pools, blots and travels across the absorbent surfaces of paper and learning to control it in exquisite ways. In particular, Kwon developed an adept technique for channeling the ink by applying it to carefully torn and folded edges in the paper. Over his many decades of practice, Kwon Young-Woo developed a practice that captured a profound level of emotion in simple materials that have a long history in Korean culture. Joining his material mastery with chance and the mercurial movement of liquid ink, the artist was able to develop both a unique practice and an instantly recognizable style that contains tremendous power and elegance.
In concert with this exhibition, Kukje Gallery will present works by Kwon Young-Woo at Frieze Masters from October 14-18, 2015.
On view October 30 – December 6, 2015
Kukje Gallery, K1 & K3