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The exhibitions Park Dae Sung and The Space Between provide valuable insight into Korean art in a year when much of the art world is stampeding towards Seoul.

LACMA Presents Back-to-Back Shows of Korean Art

Kim Whanki, Jars and Women (1951). Private Collection. © Whanki Foundation·Whanki Museum.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has opened the first of two exhibitions that shine a light on modern and early contemporary art from Korea.

Park Dae Sung: Virtuous Ink and Contemporary Brush is on until 11 December, while the group show The Space Between: The Modern in Korean Art will open on 11 September and continue until 19 February 2023.

Born in 1945, the largely self-taught Park Dae Sung is recognised for his contemporary reinterpretations of Korean traditional ink painting, in particular his landscapes that play with impressive scale and perspectives.

Park Dae Sung, Snow at Bulguk Temple (1996). Photo

Park Dae Sung, Snow at Bulguk Temple (1996). Photo courtesy the artist.

LACMA hopes that viewers will find themselves immersed in Park's worlds.

'Whether it is through the juxtaposition of the flowing stream alongside a sturdy brick bridge, the sound of bulls' horns colliding, or even the imperfections of a tea bowl, these works reveal the natural tensions within the earthly world that give them inner strength,' said Virginia Moon, Associate Curator, Korean Art at LACMA.

Virtuous Ink and Contemporary Brush is presented with support from Seoul gallery Gana Art and the Samsung Foundation of Culture. It will be succeeded by Park Dae Sung: Ink Reimagined, a solo show at Darmouth College's Hood Museum of Art from 24 September 2022 to 19 March 2023.

Kim Eunho, Portrait of King Sunjong (1923). National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, © Estate of Kim Eunho. Photo: © National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea.

Kim Eunho, Portrait of King Sunjong (1923). National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, © Estate of Kim Eunho. Photo: © National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea.

The forthcoming exhibition The Space Between: The Modern in Korean Art goes back to the period from 1897 to 1965.

'These artworks, never before shown outside of Korea, show how Korean art broke traditional moulds to introduce new and borrowed ones amid the grave challenges the country faced during this era,' Moon said.

Created in partnership with the Hyundai Motor Company, the show includes some 130 works by 88 artists.

Shin Nakkyun, Photograph of Choi Seunghui (1930). Jipyong Collection, Research Institute for the Visual Language of Korea, Seoul. © The Estate of Shin Nakkyun. Digital photo

Shin Nakkyun, Photograph of Choi Seunghui (1930). Jipyong Collection, Research Institute for the Visual Language of Korea, Seoul. © The Estate of Shin Nakkyun. Digital photo courtesy Jipyong Collection.

One of the exhibition highlights is Jars and Women (1951), pictured top, by Kim Whanki (1913–1974) who experimented widely with colour and classical motifs in Korean painting before he developed his signature dot paintings in the 1960s.

Others include a portrait by Kim Eunho (1892–1979) who was an early pioneer of Western-style painting, and pictures by first-generation photographers Min Chungsik and Shin Nak Kyun. Shin is especially remembered for his 1930 portrait of then 19-year-old dancer Choi Seunghee.

Quac Insik, Work (1962). National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea. © The Estate of Quac Insik. Photo: © National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea.

Quac Insik, Work (1962). National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea. © The Estate of Quac Insik. Photo: © National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea.

The exhibition bridges the modern and the contemporary with works by Quac Insik (1919–1988), who was born in Korea but lived most of his life in Japan.

Quac's experiments with materials such as glass and stone anticipated Mono-ha, while his abstract paintings and mentorship of Lee Ufan helped formed the foundations of Dansaekhwa. These two schools of Korean art will no doubt be well represented at Kiaf SEOUL and Frieze Seoul when the two fairs open on 2 September.

'It's exciting to be able to share this story in Los Angeles, which is home to the largest Korean population outside of Korea,' said LACMA's CEO Michael Govan and Director Wallis Annenberg. —[O]


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