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Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide Ocula Conversation Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide

Ongoing since 2012, the Real DMZ Project interrogates the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea through annual, research-based exhibitions that bring together the works of Korean and international artists. Sunjung Kim, the independent curator behind the project, conceived the idea of exploring the DMZ while curating Japanese artist...

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Frieze Week Lowdown: London Shows to See Ocula Report Frieze Week Lowdown: London Shows to See 20 Sep 2019 : Tessa Moldan for Ocula

London's galleries and museums are gearing up for a lively October, with Frieze London and Frieze Masters running between 3 and 6 October 2019 at Regent's Park, along with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, taking place across the same dates at Somerset House; and the tenth anniversary of the Sunday Art Fair, showcasing new and emerging artists...

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Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum Ocula Insight | Video Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum 16 August 2019

Mark Bradford walks through Mark Bradford: Los Angeles Mark Bradford: Los Angeles at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai (27 July–13 October 2019) is the artist's largest solo exhibition to date in China. In this video for Ocula, Bradford and Diana Nawi, curator of the show, walk through selected works that convey the artist's concerns with...

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Ha Chong-Hyun

b. 1935, South Korea

Ha Chong-Hyun is a Korean artist known for his innovative approach to painting, and for having been a leading member of the Korean style of abstract painting known as Dansaekhwa. Roughly translated as 'monochrome painting', Dansaekhwa refers to the work of a group of loosely affiliated Korean artists—among them Lee Ufan, Park Seo-Bo, and Yun Hyong-keun—who in the 1970s pioneered an aesthetic that emphasises process, tactility, and surface.

Graduating with a BFA from Seoul's Hongik University in 1959, Ha began experimenting with geometric abstractions in the early stages of his career. White Paper for Urban Planning (1967) from the 'Urban Planning' series, for example, depicts angular shapes composed of straight lines and monochromatic gradients that echo decorative patterns found in traditional Korean architecture. In an interview with Ocula Magazine in 2017, the artist reflected that the series was inspired by the urban development that was then going on in Seoul, which led him to search for ways of creating 'modern works while incorporating something of my culture that has always been there'.

Ha's artworks are also marked by his use of inexpensive and quotidian materials, a trait he shared with many of his contemporaries working in post-war Korea. As the artist reflected in his interview with Ocula Magazine, he could not afford to produce large scales of only one type of work and wished to investigate the full range of materials available around him. In the installation Relationship 72-11 (1972), for example, Ha strung rope between two walls of a gallery and placed an upright wooden beam on top. He also incorporated barbed wire into his paintings, arranging it horizontally in Untitled 72-C (1972) or in a grid pattern in Work 73-15 (B) (1973). Burlap sack, which was dispatched by the United States for relief goods during and after the war in Korea, became one of his favoured canvases as well.

Around the same time as he was experimenting with burlap sacks and barbed wire, Ha began working with a method known as bae-ap-bub, which involves pushing paint through the back of the canvas. Though simple, this method allows for countless variations depending on the size of the pores in the fabric and the pressure with which the paint is applied. In his 'Conjunction' series (c 1970s–ongoing), Ha employs bae-ap-bub to create diverse surfaces that range from the vertical columns of light and darker shades of oil paint in Conjunction 79-11 (1979) to short, vertical strokes of white in Conjunction 05-171 (2005). Others, such as Conjunction 16-321 (2016), depict an array of short, angular marks that resemble the vowels of hangul (the Korean alphabet). Many 'Conjunction' paintings also foster a sense of dimensionality where the edges of paint congeal, as can be seen in Conjunction 14-136 (2014) and Conjunction 18-07 (2018), among others.

In his interview with Ocula Magazine, Ha explained that the word 'conjunction' 'is really the essence of my work: the conjunction between the materials—oil paint and hemp cloth—and my spirit and performance.' This concern with the intersection between the act of painting and the physicality of the materials that go into it is deeply in alignment with the philosophies of the Dansaekhwa artists at large.

Ha exhibits internationally, including at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon (2012); Gyeongnam Art Museum, Changwon (2004); and Fondazione Mudima, Milan (2003), among others. In 2015, his work featured in the exhibition Dansaekhwa, a Collateral Event of the 56th Venice Biennale. Widely recognised for his contribution to contemporary art in Korea, Ha served as the chairman of Korean Avant-Garde Association between 1969 and 1974, commissioner and advisor to the inaugural Gwangju Biennale in 1995, and the director of Seoul Museum of Art from 2001 to 2006.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2019
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Featured Artworks

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Conjunction 19-16 by Ha Chong-Hyun contemporary artwork
Ha Chong-HyunConjunction 19-16, 2019 Oil on hep cloth
91 x 73 cm
Tina Kim Gallery
Conjunction 18-53 by Ha Chong-Hyun contemporary artwork
Ha Chong-HyunConjunction 18-53, 2018 Oil on hemp cloth
162 x 130 cm
Kukje Gallery
Conjunction 15-156 by Ha Chong-Hyun contemporary artwork
Ha Chong-HyunConjunction 15-156, 2015 Oil on hemp cloth
180 x 120 cm
Almine Rech
Conjunction 18-52 by Ha Chong-Hyun contemporary artwork
Ha Chong-HyunConjunction 18-52, 2018 Oil on hemp cloth
162 x 130 cm
Kukje Gallery
Conjunction 15-169 by Ha Chong-Hyun contemporary artwork
Ha Chong-HyunConjunction 15-169, 2015 Oil on hemp cloth
162 x 130 cm
Kukje Gallery
Conjunction 18-19 by Ha Chong-Hyun contemporary artwork
Ha Chong-HyunConjunction 18-19, 2018 Oil on hemp cloth
117 x 91 cm
Kukje Gallery
Conjunction 17-31 by Ha Chong-Hyun contemporary artwork
Ha Chong-HyunConjunction 17-31, 2017 Oil on hemp
117 x 91 cm
Blum & Poe
Conjunction 17-48 by Ha Chong-Hyun contemporary artwork
Ha Chong-HyunConjunction 17-48, 2017 Oil on hemp
91 x 73 cm
Blum & Poe

Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Ha Chong-Hyun, Ha Chong-Hyun at KUKJE GALLERY, Busan
Closed
29 May–28 July 2019 Ha Chong-Hyun Ha Chong-Hyun KUKJE GALLERY, Busan
Contemporary art exhibition, Ha Chong-hyun, Ha Chong-hyun at Blum & Poe, Tokyo
Closed
23 March–18 May 2019 Ha Chong-hyun Ha Chong-hyun Blum & Poe, Tokyo
Contemporary art exhibition, Ha Chong-Hyun, Conjunction at Tina Kim Gallery, New York
Closed
4 May–16 June 2018 Ha Chong-Hyun Conjunction Tina Kim Gallery, New York

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Ha Chong-Hyun: An Introduction to a Leading Artist Ocula Insight | Video Ha Chong-Hyun: An Introduction to a Leading Artist 11 June 2019

In this IGTV video, Felicia Chen, associate director of Blum & Poe, Tokyo, provides a short but insightful introduction to Korean-born artist Ha Chong Hyun's practice through a discussion of the works exhibited by Blum & Poe in the artist's solo exhibition, which took place at the gallery's Tokyo space between 23 March–18 May 2019). The...

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Ha Chong-Hyun Ocula Conversation Ha Chong-Hyun Artist, Korea

Among the now internationally acclaimed Dansaekhwa artists, Ha Chong-Hyun (b. South Korea, 1935) is notable for his undeniable influence on the shifting landscape of Korean art in the 1960s and '70s. A part of the first wave of artists to embrace abstraction in South Korea, he also cofounded A.G., a pioneering avant-garde collective that gave rise...

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Beyond Influence: The Legacy of Korean Monochrome Painting Ocula Report Beyond Influence: The Legacy of Korean Monochrome Painting 14 Oct 2014 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

'One thing to remember about Tansaekhwa is that it was never an official movement,' Joan Kee, Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, explains in an email interview. 'There was no manifesto, no declaration—not even a series of exhibitions consciously organized under that rubric.' 

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In Related Press

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Mexico City’s Major Fair Exposes the Art World’s Renewed Love of Craft Related Press Mexico City’s Major Fair Exposes the Art World’s Renewed Love of Craft Observer : 7 February 2019

As someone who has personally spent too much time in too many art fairs over the past decade or so, I have become acclimated to a certain kind of art-fair art-viewing experience. Neon signs vie for attention with massive dayglo paintings, holograms in pristine plexiglass vitrines strive to out-wow the virtual reality experiences offered in Oculus...

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Ruggedly Refined Monochrome: Ha Chong-Hyun at Tina Kim Related Press Ruggedly Refined Monochrome: Ha Chong-Hyun at Tina Kim artcritical : 14 June 2018

It is not uncommon among contemporary Korean artists to find the same title used repeatedly for different paintings, often over a period of several years. Although one might find a number sequence to differentiate one painting from the next, for the most part the repetition of the title is perennial.

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Ha Chong-Hyun at Almine Rech Gallery, Paris Related Press Ha Chong-Hyun at Almine Rech Gallery, Paris ArtAsiaPacific : 23 May 2017

At Almine Rech Gallery in Paris, 21 of the artist's paintings, the majority of which were created in the past four years, demonstrated Ha's ability to imbue paint with the qualities of sculpture. The artist uses a methodical, labor-intensive process to create energetic paintings on hemp cloth, recalling the sacks of aid supplies distributed to...

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Making sense of the abstract Related Press Making sense of the abstract China Daily : 1 March 2017

Dansaekhwa, a genre of monochromatic paintings from South Korea, will make its Chinese mainland debut in September.The show at Yuz Museum in Shanghai, featuring more than 70 works by different artists, including the elderly, is expected to draw collectors and lovers of art who share cultural similarities with Korean people. The artworks are...

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In Video & Audio

TEFAF Meet the Expert - Tina Kim Gallery Related Video & Audio TEFAF Meet the Expert - Tina Kim Gallery TEFAF : 6 May 2018

TEFAF spoke with Tina Kim, founder of the Tina Kim Gallery (stand 60), on Ha's bae-ap-bub painting technique (backpressure method).

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Zoe Chun, Kukje Gallery on Deductive Object at Art Basel Hong Kong Related Video & Audio Zoe Chun, Kukje Gallery on Deductive Object at Art Basel Hong Kong CoBo : 27 March 2017

CoBo speaks to Zoe Chun, Communication Director of Kukje Gallery – CoBo Challenge at Art Basel Hong Kong 2017.

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