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b. 1931, South Korea

Park Seo-Bo Biography

In his ongoing 'Ecriture' series of paintings, conceived in the 1960s, Park Seo-Bo strives for tranquility and meditation through repetitive actions. Park is also a long-time educator and leading Dansaekhwa artist recognised for his contributions to the history of modern and contemporary Korean art.

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Coming of age in the 1950s, Park Seo-Bo was among the young artists who reacted against Kukjeon or the National Art Exhibition system that then dominated the Korean art scene. Against what he perceived as the homogenising academicism of Kukjeon, Park began to explore ways of incorporating elements of abstraction—freshly arrived from North America—and unconventional techniques, thus paving the way for abstract art in Korea.

Primarily working with Korean paper (hanji) and canvas, Park Seo-Bo developed a method of manipulating gesso or paint while the surface is still wet. In his early 'Ecriture' works, the artist used a pencil or a stylus to make repetitive marks; since the 1980s onwards, he has often applied paint to hanji or pushed around its pulp to create uninterrupted spaces.

While influenced by North American Abstract expressionism and Minimalism, Park's paintings are not an uncritical absorption of outside influences but a negotiation between the traditional and the new. Myobop—as 'Ecriture' is known in the Korean language—translates as 'law of drawing', which references Taoist and Buddhist philosophies. Also known as 'the journey of the hand', works belonging to the 'Ecriture' series eliminate individual gestures through repetition and enters a meditative state.

Parallels cam be drawn between Park Seo-Bo's 'Ecriture' and the work of his contemporaries, including Lee Ufan, Chung Chang-Sup, and Kwon Young-Woo, who also often employ monochrome colour palettes, humble materials, and repetitive gestures. In 2000, curator and scholar Yoon Jin Sup coined the term 'Dansaekhwa' or Korean Monochrome Painting to consider their work collectively. Today, Park is regarded as a founding figure of the Dansaekhwa movement.

'Ecriture' has experienced stylistic changes over the years. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Park Seo-Bo worked primarily with black and white, two of the most important colours in East Asia philosophy: black represents time and pure emptiness; white alludes to death, spirituality, and the void. In his interview with Ocula Magazine in 2018, the artist said that he began to use 'colours that heal' in the 21st century in an attempt to create paintings that restore peace in the contemporary world of rapid and drastic changes.

Park Seo-Bo has led an impressive career as an educator of art in South Korea. Between 1962 and 1994, he taught at Seoul's Hongik University—one of the most prestigious institutions of art in Korea and his alma mater (from which he graduated in 1954). In 1986, the artist became the Dean of the College of Fine Arts, a position he held until 1990. Park continues to support young Korean artists and contemporary Korean art on the international art scene through Seo-Bo Art and Cultural Foundation, founded in 1994.

Park Seo-Bo began to receive international recognition around 2014 with the rise of renewed interest in Dansaekhwa. His paintings have appeared in seminal exhibitions of the movement, including When processs becomes form: Dansaekhwa and Korean abstraction, the Boghossian Foundation, Brussels (2016); Dansaekhwa and Minimalism, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles (2016); and Dansaekhwa, a Collateral Event of the 56th Venice Biennale (2015).

In 2019, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul organised Park Seo Bo: The Untiring Endeavorer, a major retrospective exhibition of the artist's career. In March 2021, White Cube Bermondsey, London, is to present the largest solo exhibition of Park's works in the UK to date.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2021

Park Seo-Bo Featured Artworks

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Ecriture (描法) No. 970428 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork
Park Seo-BoEcriture (描法) No. 970428, 1997Mixed media with Korean hanji paper on canvas
97.2 x 130.5 cm
Kukje Gallery Contact Gallery
Ecriture No. 970719 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork
Park Seo-BoEcriture No. 970719, 1997Mixed media with Korean Hanji paper on canvas
91 x 73 cm
Tina Kim Gallery Contact Gallery
Ecriture No.061210 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork
Park Seo-BoEcriture No.061210, 2006Mixed media with Korean hanji paper on canvas
165 x 260 cm
Perrotin Contact Gallery
Ecriture No.090930 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork
Park Seo-BoEcriture No.090930, 2009Mixed media with Korean hanji paper on canvas
130 x 195 cm
Perrotin Contact Gallery
Ecriture No.080623 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork
Park Seo-BoEcriture No.080623, 2008Mixed media with Korean hanji paper on canvas
130 x 195 cm
Perrotin Contact Gallery
Ecriture No.140218 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork
Park Seo-BoEcriture No.140218, 2014Mixed media with Korean hanji paper on canvas
170 x 230 cm
Perrotin Contact Gallery
Ecriture No.150906 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork
Park Seo-BoEcriture No.150906, 2015Mixed media with Korean hanji paper on canvas
170 x 230 cm
Perrotin Contact Gallery
Ecriture No. 021009 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork
Park Seo-BoEcriture No. 021009, 2002Mixed media with Korean Hanji paper on canvas
162 x 195 cm
Tina Kim Gallery Contact Gallery

Park Seo-Bo Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Floating World at Perrotin, Hong Kong
Closed
24 November 2020–6 February 2021 Group Exhibition Floating World PerrotinHong Kong
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Writing Beyond at Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Antwerp
Closed
16 May 2020–16 January 2021 Group Exhibition Writing Beyond Axel Vervoordt GalleryAntwerp

Park Seo-Bo Represented By

Kukje Gallery contemporary art gallery in Seoul, South Korea Kukje Gallery Busan, Seoul
P21 contemporary art gallery in Seoul, South Korea P21 Seoul
Perrotin contemporary art gallery in Paris, France Perrotin Hong Kong, New York, Paris, Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo
Tina Kim Gallery contemporary art gallery in New York, USA Tina Kim Gallery New York

Park Seo-Bo In Ocula Magazine

Park Seo-Bo Ocula Conversation Park Seo-Bo By Ines Min, Seoul

To live as a hermit, secluded from this turmoil, would be an act of distancing myself from the time in which I live.

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The scene of a crime: Shanghai art week 2016 Ocula Feature The scene of a crime: Shanghai art week 2016 By Elliat Albrecht, Shanghai

Frankly though, I couldn't concentrate: a trade fair seemed trivial as social and political progress seemed on the brink of a steep and painful descent.

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Top 5 booths at Art Busan 2016 Ocula Feature Top 5 booths at Art Busan 2016 By Angela Suh, Busan

Located a stones throw from the famed Haeundae Beach, popularised in Korean cinema and countless K-dramas, Art Busan 2016 conveyed a leisurely air brought on by the first warm days of spring. Now in its fifth edition, the fair has grown into a sizeable event showcasing some of the best works in the region. With over 190 participating galleries...

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Beyond Influence: The Legacy of Korean Monochrome Painting Ocula Feature Beyond Influence: The Legacy of Korean Monochrome Painting By Stephanie Bailey, London

'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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Park Seo-Bo In Related Press

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

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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Monochrome and minimalism: 6 Dansaekhwa artists in New York Related Press Monochrome and minimalism: 6 Dansaekhwa artists in New York 23 May 2016, Art Radar

Dansaekhwa, or Korean monochrome art, is characterised by painting in a single colour, textured and with simplified images. Featured as a collateral event of the 56th Venice Biennale (2015), the art form has also generated interest in the western world through recent exhibitions such as From All Sides: Tansaekhwa on Abstraction (Blum & Poe...

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Dansaekhwa and Korean Abstraction at Boghossian Foundation in Brussels Related Press Dansaekhwa and Korean Abstraction at Boghossian Foundation in Brussels 21 February 2016, Blouin Artinfo

Opening at the Boghossian Foundation’s Villa Empain in Brussels this weekend is When Process Becomes Form: Dansaekhwa and Korean Abstraction, the first exhaustive exhibition of the Korean Dansaekhwa movement in Belgium, featuring some fifty works by seven of its leading proponents: Chung Chang-Sup, Chung Sang-Hwa, Ha Chong-Hyun, Kim Whanki...

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Park Seo-Bo, Ecriture 1967-1981, White Cube Mason's Yard, London Related Press Park Seo-Bo, Ecriture 1967-1981, White Cube Mason's Yard, London 10 February 2016, Aesthetica Magazine

Korean artist Park Seo-Bo receives his first solo exhibition in the UK at White Cube Mason’s Yard. Widely considered one of the leading figures in contemporary Korean art, alongside Lee Ufan and Kim Tschang Yeul, and credited as being the father of the “Dansaekhwa” or Korean Monochrome movement, he is best known for his Ecriture...

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Park Seo-Bo In Video & Audio

The Eastern Gesture Chun Kwang Young Park Seobo Lee Bae Lee Ufan Kim Tschang-Yeul Dep Art Gallery Related Video & Audio The Eastern Gesture Chun Kwang Young Park Seobo Lee Bae Lee Ufan Kim Tschang-Yeul Dep Art Gallery 9 April 2020, Dep Art Gallery

THE EASTERN GESTURE Five Voices from the Korean Avant-garde Chun Kwang Young, Park Seobo, Lee Bae, Lee Ufan, Kim Tschang-Yeul Curated by Gianluca Ranzi 3 March–9 May 2020 Between meditation and matter, thought and vision, the exhibition The Eastern Gesture - Five Voices from the Korean Avant-garde to be held at the Dep Art Gallery...

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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 27 March 2017, CoBo

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

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