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4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale: Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life Ocula Report 4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale: Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life 15 Feb 2019 : Natalie King for Ocula

'Poems are like sentences that have taken their clothes off.' Marlene Dumas' poetic and sensual refrain accompanies her figurative watercolours on view in Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life, the fourth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) in the southern state of Kerala, India (12 December 2018–29 March 2019).Dumas' new series...

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Ellen Altfest Ocula Conversation Ellen Altfest

The paintings of Ellen Altfest are ethereal in their detail. Fields of minutiae come together as pulsating images; small brushstrokes of oil paint accumulate over a series of months to single out seemingly innocuous subjects, such as a hand resting atop patterned fabric (The Hand, 2011) or a deep green cactus reaching upwards from beneath a bed of...

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Colomboscope 2019: Cross Currents and Dissonance Ocula Report Colomboscope 2019: Cross Currents and Dissonance 8 Feb 2019 : Nada Raza for Ocula

On the rooftop of the former Rio Hotel complex in Colombo, it was hard to ignore the high-rise buildings, still under construction, blocking all but a sliver of what used to be an open view over Slave Island, once an island on Beira Lake that housed slaves in the 19th century, and now a downtown suburb. The hotel was set alight during the...

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Park Seo-Bo

b. 1931, South Korea

One of the most significant artists in modern Korean history, Park Seo-Bo was born in 1931 in Yecheon, Gyeongbuk, South Korea. As a young artist in the 1950s, Park was among the first to introduce abstraction to Korean art and is best known as a founding figure of the art movement, Dansaekhwa.

Dansaekhwa, also known as baeksaekpa (the School of White), refers to a group of paintings in Korean art that began to appear in the late 1950s and fully emerged in the art world by the mid-1970s. Translated as 'monochrome paintings', Dansaekhwa is characterised by minimal colour palettes, repetitive gestures and manipulation of the canvas or paper through soaking, tearing, pulling and other techniques. Park and contemporaries such as Lee Ufan, Chung Chang-Sup and Kwon Young-Woo began incorporating abstract motifs and unconventional techniques in their works as a reaction against the prevailing academicism. Dansaekhwa was also a response to the unstable conditions in the country at the time; 35 years of Japanese Occupation and the Korean War had been replaced by a conspicuous American presence. Many artists expressed their perception of a changing Korean cultural identity through paintings that wedded Western and Eastern techniques. Despite its introduction as a 'movement' to the West, however, Dansaekhwa was never an official movement and the term itself was coined in retrospect by the curator and scholar Yoon Jin Sup in 2000.

Although abstraction in Korean art was influenced by North American Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism, Park's paintings are not an uncritical absorption of outside influences but rather a negotiation between the traditional and the new. 'Ecriture'—his most famous and ongoing series conceived in the 1960s—uses Western Modernist techniques of painting on traditional Korean hanji paper. In early works, Park used a pencil or a stylus to make repetitive marks on the canvas, but since the 1980s he has been manipulating the pulp of hanji paper while its surface is wet. Myobop—as 'Ecriture' paintings are known in the Korean language—means 'law of drawing', a phrase that reveals the artist's interest in Taoist and Buddhist philosophies. Further nicknamed 'the journey of the hand', the process of repetition eliminates individual gestures and becomes one of meditation.

Paintings in the 'Ecriture' series have experienced stylistic changes over the years. Park's work from the 1990s and early 2000s were black and white, two of the most important colours in East Asian philosophy—black represents time and pure emptiness, while white alludes to death spirituality and the void. Since 2002, Park has incorporated other colours as well, using acrylic paint to mould linear patterns on the wet pulp of hanji paper. From a distance, these monochrome paintings appear to be one colour or empty. Borrowing the language of abstraction, rejecting painterly codes from Western Modernism and combining these methodologies with Eastern philosophies, Park attempts to capture and convey the 'ideal of emptiness or "no mind"', according to a press release from Tina Kim Gallery's 2016 solo exhibition of Park's work.

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

Park's work has been recognised both nationally and internationally. He has exhibited in many institutions across Asia, the USA and Europe, and has exhibited twice at the Venice Biennale (2015, 1988). Referred to as the father of Dansaekhwa, Park's paintings have been included in several group exhibitions, including When process 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). Park was awarded the President's Citation in 1972 and received the Silver Crown Cultural Medal for his services toward the advancement of contemporary art in Korea in 2011.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2017
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Featured Artworks

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Ecriture No. 201-85 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork Park Seo-BoEcriture No. 201-85, 1985 Oil on cotton
150 x 75 cm
Tina Kim Gallery
Ecriture (描法) No. 151005 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork Park Seo-BoEcriture (描法) No. 151005, 2015 Mixed media with Korean hanji paper on canvas
130 x 90 cm
Kukje Gallery
Ecriture No.061210 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork Park Seo-BoEcriture No.061210, 2006 Mixed media with Korean hanji paper on canvas
165 x 260 cm
Perrotin
Ecriture No.090930 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork Park Seo-BoEcriture No.090930, 2009 Mixed media with Korean hanji paper on canvas
130 x 195 cm
Perrotin
Ecriture No.080623 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork Park Seo-BoEcriture No.080623, 2008 Mixed media with Korean hanji paper on canvas
130 x 195 cm
Perrotin
Ecriture No.080306 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork Park Seo-BoEcriture No.080306, 2008 Mixed media with Korean hanji paper on canvas
130 x 195 cm
Perrotin
Ecriture No.140218 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork Park Seo-BoEcriture No.140218, 2014 Mixed media with Korean hanji paper on canvas
170 x 230 cm
Perrotin
Ecriture No.150716 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork Park Seo-BoEcriture No.150716, 2015 Mixed media with Korean hanji paper on canvas
170 x 230 cm
Perrotin

Recent Exhibitions

View All (7)
Contemporary art exhibition, Park Seo-Bo, Ecriture at Perrotin, New York
Closed
3 November–22 December 2018 Park Seo-Bo Ecriture Perrotin, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Summer Gallery Highlights at Perrotin, Hong Kong
Closed
21 July–8 September 2018 Group Exhibition Summer Gallery Highlights Perrotin, Hong Kong
Contemporary art exhibition, Park Seo-Bo, Ecriture: Black and White at Tina Kim Gallery, New York
Closed
11 November 2016–14 January 2017 Park Seo-Bo Ecriture: Black and White Tina Kim Gallery, New York

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Park Seo-Bo Ocula Conversation Park Seo-Bo Artist

Park Seo-Bo is widely recognised as the godfather of modern Korean art. The artist played an instrumental role in nurturing the careers of emerging artists and for his own contribution to the formation of Dansaekhwa—the Korean monochromatic painting movement that emerged in the mid-1970s. In the spring of 2018, Park was recognised with the...

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Top 5 booths at Art Busan 2016 Ocula Report Top 5 booths at Art Busan 2016 31 May 2016 : Angela Suh for Ocula

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 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...

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

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, Los...

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

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 Aesthetica Magazine : 10 February 2016

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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In Related Video

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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