Yun Hyong-Keun, former member of Korean art movement Dansaekhwa, became best known for his 'Umber Blue' paintings. Yun’s inspiration came from nature when he witnessed a tree and its roots dissolving into the soil of a mountain. Strongly impressed by the scene, Yun decided to capture the essence of nature in his work.Read More
Honesty and truthfulness of nature gave way to muted, receded colours, and a simple composition of bold squared-shaped fields in earthly shades. Over time, the artist reduced his colour palette to ultramarine blue and burnt umber. Yun consecutively applied the heavily diluted paints directly onto the linen canvas on top of each other. Due to the characteristics of these materials, paint smears into canvas quickly and creates blurred margins around the bars. Different rates of colour absorption can be seen, as each brush stroke is unique. The process is very natural and organic, like water soaking into the soil.
Yun’s work is often referred to as Korean minimalism. Donald Judd discovered the structural aesthetics in Yun’s monochrome paintings in the 1990s when Judd saw it in the artist’s studio during Judd's visit to Korea for a solo exhibition at Inkong Gallery in Seoul. Judd expressed high praise for Yun's simple structural work and invited Yun to exhibit his work at the Judd Foundation in 1993. Yun agreed and the show included a selection of twenty paintings. One year later, Yun's exhibit travelled to the Judd's Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas.
This exhibition of Yun's work was Judd’s very last project for the Chinati Foundation before he died. In 1996, the Chinati Foundation, together with the Judd Foundation, organised a group exhibition including works of Yun and Judd, and joined by many other international contemporaries such as Carl Andre, John Chamberlain, Claes Oldenburg, Roni Horn, Richard Long and Barnett Newman.
Text courtesy Axel Vervoordt Gallery.
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