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‘An Opera for Animals’ at Rockbund Art Museum Ocula Report ‘An Opera for Animals’ at Rockbund Art Museum 19 Jul 2019 : Penny Liu for Ocula

An Opera for Animals was first staged at Para Site in Hong Kong between 23 March and 2 June 2019, with works by over 48 artists and collectives that use opera as a metaphor for modes of contemporary, cross-disciplinary art-making. The exhibition's second iteration takes up a large portion of the Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) in Shanghai (22 June–25...

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Mandy El-Sayegh: Productive Ambiguity Ocula Conversation Mandy El-Sayegh: Productive Ambiguity

Moving across installation, painting, drawing, and writing, Malaysia-born and London-based artist Mandy El-Sayegh explores the political, social, and economic complexities of humanity, using a mosaic of information—from advertising slogans and pornographic imagery to newspaper articles—that she subjects to processes of layering,...

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Get Up, Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers at Somerset House Ocula Report Get Up, Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers at Somerset House 5 Jul 2019 : Jareh Das for Ocula

Get Up Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers at Somerset House in London (12 June–15 September 2019) surveys more than half a century of black creativity in Britain and beyond across the fields of art, film, photography, music, design, fashion, and literature.Curated by Zak Ové, works by approximately 100 intergenerational black...

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Kim Chong Hak

b. 1937, South Korea

Kim Chong-Hak was born in 1937 at Sinuiju. He majored in painting at Seoul National University, whereupon he chose the path of abstract art in the midst of volatile opposition between abstract and conceptual art. He actively created work during his stays in the US and Japan, and he began attending meetings at 'Art that has become the slave of ideology'. After his return, it was 1979 when the artist decided to leave Seoul for Sokcho from his dissatisfaction in life and in hopes of pursuing his painting career. At this point in time, the artist thought more of death than life, and spent a year without seeing or reading anything. With the help of an acquaintance, Kim moved to Sulak mountain, where nature cured the artist. The spontaneous bloom of flowers was a shock of colour to the artist: 'Pasqueflower, Rosa rugosa, Wild rose, Evening primrose…' He began painting flowers and mountains, rekindling his ambitions of the past: 'I started looking at things again, everything looked anew'. He started feeling the ‘Artist’s purpose and responsibility’ to paint what he saw. Across 20 years, the artist developed a unique painting style so typical, one may think that it seemed quite ordinary. However, Kim reached a stage where he paints freely, as he has once stated: 'The purpose of painting is to be free'.

In Kim's own words, 'The reason in choosing flowers as a motif was that it withdrew from the image of a degenerate artist.' During the 1970 and 1980s, the artists society of Korea was dominated by subjects such as solemnness, sublimeness, and the value of struggle. However, flowers were always a friendly and familiar subject motif for artists, and still persists to be so in the present. Individual artists would have different reasons for painting flowers, but the main reason that flowers continue to remain as a topic un-withered among artists is due to their characteristics of primitive beauty, eros, and death. This is why new appearances of flowers occur with each epoch. Kim's flowers are 'not normal flowers that blossom, but flowers that structurally bloom on a screen' as he himself has said, the combination of the flowers of realities and the conceptual flower are considered to be a ‘fantasy’ that has blossomed through the medium of painting.

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Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Kim Chong Hak, Vitality at Perrotin, Paris
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16 March–11 May 2019 Kim Chong Hak Vitality Perrotin, Paris

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