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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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Early work

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.

Ecriture

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.

Dansaekhwa

Parallels can 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.

Colours of Ecriture

'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.

Education and Exhibitions

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 No. 155-82 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, photography, print
Park Seo-BoEcriture No. 155-82, 1982Mixed media with Korean hanji paper on canvas
53.3 x 169.7 cm
Tina Kim Gallery Contact Gallery
Ecriture No. 51-71 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork painting, drawing
Park Seo-BoEcriture No. 51-71, 1971Pencil and oil on canvas
80 x 100 cm
Not for sale
White Cube
Ecriture No. 130226 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork works on paper
Park Seo-BoEcriture No. 130226, 2013Mixed media with Korean Hanji paper on canvas
131 x 200.3 cm
Not for sale
White Cube
Ecriture No. 160528 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Park Seo-BoEcriture No. 160528, 2016Mixed media with Korean Hanji paper on canvas
71 x 91 x 12.5 cm
Not for sale
White Cube
Ecriture No. 37-73 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork painting
Park Seo-BoEcriture No. 37-73, 1973100 x 81.3 cm White Cube Contact Gallery
Ecriture No.061210 by Park Seo-Bo contemporary artwork mixed media
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 mixed media
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 mixed media
Park Seo-BoEcriture No.080623, 2008Mixed media with Korean hanji paper on canvas
130 x 195 cm
Perrotin Contact Gallery

Park Seo-Bo Recent Exhibitions

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Park Seo-Bo Represented By

Kukje Gallery contemporary art gallery in Seoul, South Korea Kukje Gallery Busan, Seoul
Perrotin contemporary art gallery in Paris, France Perrotin Hong Kong, New York, Paris, Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo
White Cube contemporary art gallery in Mason's Yard, London, United Kingdom White Cube Aspen, Hong Kong, London, New York, Paris

Park Seo-Bo In Ocula Magazine

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In Ocula Advisory

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

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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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