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b. 1935, South Korea

Ha Chong-Hyun Biography

Ha Chong-Hyun is recognised for his contributions to the development of abstract art in postwar South Korea. The artist is closely associated with Dansaekhwa, a style of monochromatic abstract painting that emerged in the late 1960s and 70s with an emphasis on process, tactility, and surface.

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Ha Chong-Hyun Artworks

Ha Chong-Hyun rose to prominence in the early 1970s for 'Conjunction', a series of paintings made using bae-ap-bub. A culmination of Ha's innovative experimentations with unorthodox materials, bae-ap-bub 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.

Abstraction

Graduating with a BFA from Seoul's Hongik University in 1959, Ha Chong-Hyun began experimenting with geometric abstractions in the early stages of his career. An example is 'White Paper for Urban Planning' (1967–9), a series of oil paintings that depicts angular shapes composed of straight lines and monochromatic gradients in an echo of the decorative patterns found in traditional Korean architecture.

Ha's primary materials at the time consisted of inexpensive and quotidian materials, a trait he shared with many of his contemporaries working in an environment recovering from war. As he could not afford to produce large-scale works, the artist sought to investigate the full range of materials available around him. 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.

Examples include the installation Relationship 72-11 (1972), in which Ha strung rope between two walls of a gallery and placed an upright wooden beam on top. The artist 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).

Conjunction

Since the early 1970s, Ha has painted 'Conjunction' employing his idiosyncratic bae-ap-bub method. The surfaces of Conjunction paintings are diverse, ranging 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).

In his interview with Ocula Magazine, Ha Chong-Hyun 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.' Ha's concern with the intersection between the act of painting and the physicality of the materials that go into it deeply aligns him with the philosophies of the Dansaekhwa artists at large, among them Lee Ufan, Park Seo-Bo, and Yun Hyong-keun.

Post-Conjunction

'Post-Conjunction', first presented in Ha's retrospective exhibition at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA) in 2012, continues in tandem with 'Conjunction'. Both a reinterpretation and expansion of bae-ap-bub, Ha arranges narrow bands of wood into linear patterns and applies oil paint around or underneath the pieces. Once hardened, the paint adds a sculptural quality to the wooden pieces, as well as an array of colours to resulting works such as Post-Conjunction 11-3 (2011) and Post-Conjunction 21-201 (2021).

Exhibitions

Ha Chong-Hyun has been exhibiting internationally since the 1960s.

As a leading figure of Dansaekhwa, his work has been featured in major group exhibitions of Dansaekhwa, among them Dansaekhwa and Korean Abstractions, The Boghossian Foundation, Brussels (2016); From All Sides: Tansaekhwa on Abstraction, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles (2014); The Art of Dansaekhwa, Kukje Gallery, Seoul (2014).

Solo exhibitions include Ha Chong-Hyun, Kukje Gallery, Seoul (2022); Return to Color, Tina Kim Gallery, New York (2021); Ha Chong-Hyun, Daejeon Museum of Art, South Korea (2020).

Group exhibitions include DANSAEKHWA, The Practicing Meditators, Seojung Art, Seoul (2022); Painting and Existence: Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Abstract Paintings, Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing (2020); Abstraction(s), Song Art Museum, Beijing (2019); Dansaekhwa, Yuz Museum, Shanghai (2017); Dansaekhwa, Collateral Event of the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia (2015).

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2022

Ha Chong-Hyun
featured artworks

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Conjunction 23-33 by Ha Chong-Hyun contemporary artwork painting
Ha Chong-Hyun Conjunction 23-33, 2023 Oil on hemp cloth
130 x 97 cm
Tina Kim Gallery Request Price & Availability
Conjunction 22-61 by Ha Chong-Hyun contemporary artwork painting
Ha Chong-Hyun Conjunction 22-61, 2022 Oil on hempcloth
117 x 91 cm
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Tina Kim Gallery
Conjunction 22-18 by Ha Chong-Hyun contemporary artwork painting
Ha Chong-Hyun Conjunction 22-18, 2022 Oil on hemp cloth
130 x 97 cm
Almine Rech Request Price & Availability
Conjunction 21-24 by Ha Chong-Hyun contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Ha Chong-Hyun Conjunction 21-24, 2021 Oil on hemp cloth
149.9 x 75.6 x 7 cm
Almine Rech Request Price & Availability
Conjunction 22-38 by Ha Chong-Hyun contemporary artwork painting
Ha Chong-Hyun Conjunction 22-38, 2022 Oil on hemp cloth
227 x 182 cm
Kukje Gallery Request Price & Availability
Conjunction 20-113 by Ha Chong-Hyun contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Ha Chong-Hyun Conjunction 20-113, 2020 Oil on hemp cloth
117 x 91 cm
Almine Rech Request Price & Availability
Conjunction 95-020 by Ha Chong-Hyun contemporary artwork painting
Ha Chong-Hyun Conjunction 95-020, 1995 Oil on hemp cloth
185 x 185 cm
Kukje Gallery Request Price & Availability
Conjunction by Ha Chong-Hyun contemporary artwork painting, textile
Ha Chong-Hyun Conjunction, 2002 Oil on hemp cloth
120 x 180 cm
Tang Contemporary Art Request Price & Availability
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Ha Chong-Hyun
recent exhibitions

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Represented by these
Ocula Member Galleries

Almine Rech contemporary art gallery in Brussels, Belgium
Almine Rech London, New York, Shanghai, Paris, Brussels +2
Kukje Gallery contemporary art gallery in Seoul, South Korea
Kukje Gallery Seoul, Busan
The Columns Gallery contemporary art gallery in Singapore
The Columns Gallery Seoul, Singapore
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Ha Chong-Hyun in
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