Kim Tschang-Yeul turns 90 this December, following an illustrious career that played a crucial role in bringing post-war Korean painting into the modern and contemporary art canon. Long celebrated for pensive depictions of water drops, the esteemed artist uses dual languages of abstraction and hyperrealism to articulate the psychological traumas...
In 2012, Melati Suryodarmo opened Studio Plesungan in her native Surakarta, also known as Solo, the historic royal capital of the Mataram Empire of Java in Indonesia. Suryodarmo had returned to Indonesia from Germany, where she studied Butoh and choreography with Butoh dancer and choreographer Anzu Furukawa, time-based media with avantgarde...
In what was reportedly Tokyo's cloudiest summer in over a century this July, Yoshiji Kigami, key animator of the cyberpunk classic Akira (1988), died in an arson attack that killed 35 people at Kyoto Animation. The attacker lit the fire with a lighter after dousing the studio with gasoline. 'They are always stealing', he explained in the belief the...
Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...
World-renowned French artist Daniel Buren is acclaimed for his contribution to conceptual art over the past 50 years. As an artist, his practice borders sculpture, installation and painting. Critically, he explores the relationship between art and the framework that continues to structure how we perceive art. Through his practice, Buren particularly challenges our customary ideas about where art is displayed and how it is understood.
Buren first developed a critique of the art establishment in Paris in the 1960s. He is best known from this era as a founding member of the BMPT (his surname initial alongside fellow artists Olivier Mosset, Michel Parmentier and Niele Toroni). The series of four exhibitions that BMPT presented—the ‘manifestations’ (1967)—questioned typical social values regarding artists and their art, for example the authority of the Parisian salons that had governed the art world for centuries. The four men also created work that disregarded the importance of authorship, often implying that one artist’s paintings were painted by another. This notion increased the value of the artistic object itself rather than its novelty.
The tone of the BMPT philosophy was arguably the biggest influence on Buren’s own practice. In 1965, he first developed the distinctive artistic motif of exploring the relationship between a work’s medium and its support. He cut fabric into 8.7cm-wide vertical stripes and attached them to unconventional surfaces, objects and spaces. His installation spaces of choice now range from window frames to the cylindrical structures in the renowned courtyard of the Palais-Royal, central Paris (in Les Deux Plateaux (1986)). Buren describes his onsite practice as in situ, as he takes a particular building or place and considers its unique story and context to create his vertically striped geometric designs.
The stripes in these works typically alternate between white and a bright colour, sometimes creating an optical illusion. Buren also often incorporates light and an array of textures such as Plexiglas into his works to enhance their spatial forms. He has documented each of his explorations and archived this documentation as ‘photo-souvenirs’.
The 1990s saw Buren’s work become increasingly architectural, employing fencing and grids. During this decade he developed the use of stained-glass window. The bright yet translucent colours in his site-specific installation Monumenta (2012) reflect these explorations in the nave of the Grand Palais in Paris.
Buren’s in situ work culminated in his representation of France at the 1986 Venice Biennale, where he was awarded the prestigious Golden Lion award for the best national pavilion that year. Since the Biennale pavilion, Buren has completed over 80 international public art works, including Diamonds and Circles, works in situ (2017), completed for the Tottenham Court Road tube station in London.
Over his career, Buren has received a number of important awards including the International Award for the Best Artist, Stuttgart, Germany (1991) and the Grand Prix National de Peinture, France (1992). He has been the subject of retrospectives at the Bozar Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels (2016); the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2005); and the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2002).
Candida Höfer is a contemporary German photographer known for her large colour photographs of interior spaces. The photographs focus on symmetry, the architecture's sense of scale, and proportion.
Höfer studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from 1973 to 1982, first in film with the Danish filmmaker Ole John, then photography with Bernd and Hilla Becher. The Bechers' influential ethos—characterised by an emphasis on formal qualities and emotional detachment—was absorbed by Höfer and her fellow students, among them Thomas Struth, Axel Hütte, and Thomas Ruff.
Like her teachers, who were masters of black-and-white photography, Höfer initially shunned colour. An early work, Flipper (1973) is a large photo-collage of 47 gelatin silver prints depicting pinball machines, captured with players or isolated in arcades and pubs. However, while working on her 'Türken in Deutschland' (Turks in Germany) series (1973–1979) documenting the life of Turkish migrant families in their new German homes, Höfer began to use colour, finding it more suitable than monochrome.
During Höfer's experiences working with migrants she became interested in the way people construct and engage with their environment, and how it affects their lives. The artist's subject matter shifted from people to public spaces, such as the vast interiors of cultural and institutional buildings like libraries, museums, hotels, banks, opera houses, zoological gardens, and palaces. Many of Höfer's large-scale colour photographs have been taken in European and North American cities like Düsseldorf, Naples, Venice, Florence, St. Petersburg, and Philadelphia.
Höfer's images are typically empty of people, paying special attention to accentuating each space's architectural qualities. A rare exception is Stiftsbibliothek St. Gallen I (2001), which shows a vertical, interior view of the Abbey Library of St. Gallen, Switzerland, from a raised vantage point. Anonymous visitors are seen roaming throughout the ground floor. Here, however, the artist used long exposure times to make the moving individuals appear blurry, abstract, and ephemeral compared to the library's hard walls and bookshelves.
In 2015, Höfer travelled to Mexico as part of the Dual Year exchange programme between Mexico and Germany to document historic and contemporary architecture there. The resulting works—later shown in the solo exhibition In Mexico at Sean Kelly, New York (2019)—include the Hospicio Cabañas in Guadalajara, which is a UNESCO World Heritage building that was erected in the 19th century. The artist photographed various passages, rooms, open doors, and nooks that she encountered, capturing a sense of classical beauty.
Höfer's works are in the permanent collections of the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Kunsthalle Basel; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Tate Modern, London, among others. In 2003, she represented Germany alongside Martin Kippenberger at the 50th Venice Biennale; in 2018, she was awarded the Sony World Photography Awards' award for Outstanding Contribution to Photography.
Höfer lives and works in Cologne.
One of the most influential sculptors of his generation, Anish Kapoor is widely recognised for his monumental public works and installations that often incorporate reflective surfaces and curvature as well as unconventional sculptural mediums like water. A preoccupation with voids, the body and the relationship between man and his surrounding environment further characterise his works.
Emerging as a sculptor in the 1980s, Kapoor's use of pure pigment and traditional materials such as limestone and wood aligned him with a group of young artists—among them Tony Cragg, Richard Deacon, Antony Gormley and Shirazeh Houshiary—known as the New British Sculptors. Kapoor gained recognition for his biomorphic works, notably As if to celebrate, I discovered a mountain blooming with red flowers (1981). Created for the exhibition British Sculpture in the Twentieth Century. Part 2: Symbol and Imagination 1951–1980 (1981–2) at London's Whitechapel Gallery, the sculpture consists of three groups of geometric forms made from wood, cement and polystyrene, and covered in pure pigment that spills over the floor. Each shape references the human physique: the three-peaked mountain in red as the body; the pair of red ellipsoids as breasts; while the boat-like form, the only yellow object of the group, suggests movement. Kapoor derived the first part of the title, 'As if to celebrate', from a Haiku poem, and the rest came from a Hindu myth in which a goddess is born out of a mountain of male gods' bodies. Several of his early sculptures, seemingly rising out of the floor or wall and coated with saturated pigments, underscore his preoccupation with blood and female anatomy.
In the following decade, Kapoor's sculptures progressively grew as he began to explore the idea of the void by constructing forms that contain cavities or disappear into the floor or wall. In the sculpture Void Field (1989)—presented at the 44th Venice Biennale and for which he was awarded the Premio Duemila Prize—the top surfaces of sandstone blocks are pierced with a hole and filled with black pigment. Contrasting the mass of the blocks with the voids within them, Kapoor explored the tensions between presence and absence, being and non-being, and internal space and darkness. Kapoor later multiplied the scale of the void with Marsyas (2002)—commissioned for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern—by creating a hollow, trumpet-like structure out of red plastic membrane that extended over the monumental gallery space.
From the mid-1990s onwards, Kapoor increasingly used mirrored surfaces in his works, as in the three concave, stainless steel discs of Her Blood (1998), which are presented on the floor or on the wall and reflect their environment from different angles. A later work such as Blood Mirror (2000) similarly consists of a stainless disc, featuring red in its lacquered and highly polished surface. The simple concave shape in both works appears to be a void from a distance and becomes activated when the spectator steps closer to it, contorting reality to subvert his or her sense of perception.
Throughout Kapoor's works, there exists a sense of theatricality—one that requires audience participation to complete its experience. In conversation with Ocula Magazine in 2016, Kapoor said, 'There is something about the performative in a work, where the work almost switches itself on as you enter its space. I think it's terribly important because that's a conversation between a viewer and an object.' Enacting this performativity is his 'Non-Object' series of 'twisted' stainless steel sculptures that invite the spectator to walk around them and study the constantly morphing reflections. Similarly, Ishi's Light (2003)—an ovoid shell with a fibreglass exterior and a lacquered red interior—opens partially to allow the spectator into its space. The concave forms in both 'Non-Objects' and Ishi's Light seek to engage the participant's senses both optically by projecting distorted reflections and aurally by amplifying sound within their parameters.
Kapoor's public sculptures are celebrated for their monumental sizes and spectacular feats of design and engineering. In 2014, he created Descension, commissioned by the Public Art Fund for the Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York, an unconventional sculpture made of infinitely swirling water. Like many of his other works, Descension provides an aural experience as the water spiralled in and out of the ground. ArcelorMittal Orbit—completed in 2012 for London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park—has become one of London's most popular attractions for its view of the city from the 115-metre-tall tower made of red tubular steel. Cloud Gate (2004)—dedicated to Chicago's Millennium Park in 2006—exemplifies Kapoor's brand of spectacle through simple forms. The 110-ton stainless steel sculpture, nicknamed 'the Bean' for its resemblance to an upturned bean, enchants the public with its seamless surface that draws both the spectator and the environment in to become a part of its perpetually shifting reflections.
Born in Bombay (now Mumbai), India, Kapoor has been living and working in London since the early 1970s, where he studied at Hornsey College of Art (1973–77) and Chelsea College of Arts (1977–78). A Turner Prize winner (1991), Kapoor has recently exhibited at Lisson Gallery, London (2017); Kukje Gallery, Seoul (2016); Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), Mexico City (2016); Château de Versailles (2015); Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2010); and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2008). Selected international group exhibitions include Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2014); 3rd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2009); Gwangju Biennale (2004); Shanghai Biennale (2001); Biennale de Lyon (2000); and Venice Biennale (1993, 1990, 1982). In 2009 he was the first living artist to be given a solo exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Elected a Royal Academician in 1999, Kapoor was appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2003 and knighted in 2013 for his services to visual arts.
As a progenitor of the Japanese Mono-ha, or School of Things, movement, Lee Ufan led a loose constellation of artists who championed the use of ordinary materials during the late 1960s, significantly altering the course of 20th-century Japanese art. Lee's dense yet poetic text, Beyond Being and Nothingness—A Thesis on Sekine Nobuo, provided something of an intellectual foundation for the movement. The group eschewed representation, choosing instead to zero in on the relationship between perception and material. Its main aim—as expressed by its key figures—was to demonstrate the fluid coexistence of objects, ideas and encounters.
In 1956, Lee began studying painting at the College of Fine Arts at Seoul National University, but after two months he relocated to Yokohama, Japan, where he went on to earn a degree in philosophy in 1961. During this period, the restrained painting style of his student work was in formal and conceptual opposition to the free expression of Gutai—the performance-oriented post-war Japanese art movement that anticipated Fluxus and inspired the work of Yves Klein, Allan Kaprow and Nam June Paik.
In the mid-1970s Lee became one of the major exponents of Korean Dansaekhwa ('Monochrome Painting')—a style that became one of the country's most important artistic developments in the 20th century—and the first from that period to bring the movement to Japan. Lee, along with the group's other loosely connected members, emphasised materiality as a means of producing relationships that link objects to viewers. In the repetitive gestural marks of his work, abstraction served to register the body's movement as well as the passage of time. With an eye towards modernist abstraction's best-known devices—seriality, gesture, grids and monochrome—Lee's paintings pushed the bounds of formalist paradigms. And through their affinity to and correspondence with Euro-American art, they proffered new forms of connection across seemingly incompatible ideological positions.
In his early painting series, 'From Point' and 'From Line' (1972–84), Lee combined ground mineral pigment with animal-skin glue, typical of the traditional Japanese Nihonga painting in which he had trained. Each fastidious brushstroke consisted of multiple simultaneous layers, and where the brush had first made contact with the support, the paint was thick, creating a 'ridge' that would gradually lighten. Rarely did Lee's brush touch the canvas separately more than three times, yet this economic application created a feeling of dynamic tension between gesture and picture plane characteristic of his paintings. In the early 1990s, Lee carried this through to his 'Correspondence' paintings, which consisted of a minimal number of grey-blue brushstrokes, applied on large white surfaces.
Lee's more recent and ongoing 'Dialogue' series, begun around 2006, considers philosophical notions of emptiness and fullness. These exist within a lineage of work that dates back to earlier works such as the 'From Line', 'From Point' and 'From Winds' series, which in the 1970s marked his transition from relatively small strokes predominantly in blue and orange to the intermixing of those colours and the predominance of grey tones from the 1980s.
Today Lee views his pristine white supports, enlivened by touches of paint, and his large site-specific sculptures made from stone and iron as materially opposed to the virtual nature of screen-based media that has now become so ubiquitous.
Although he is highly regarded as a painter, one of Lee's best-known series is 'Relatum' (1968–), three-dimensional groups of rocks dispersed with industrial materials such as steel sheets, glass panes and rubber. Lee began producing them as a response to 1960s Japan and its intensely turbulent socio-political climate. In each of these assemblages, the artist emphasises how constituent parts sit in relation to one another, to space and to surrounding objects, going beyond the enclosed network that is implied by the term 'sculpture' and its more conventional examples.
As well as being the recipient of numerous awards and honours, Lee is also represented in numerous prominent collections around the world. These include The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Tate Modern, London; The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; and The National Museum of Art, Osaka.
In 2010, the Tadao Ando-designed Lee Ufan Museum was opened at the Benesse Art Site on the Japanese Island of Naoshima, dedicated to the artist and his legacy. Lee—a professor emeritus at Tama Art University, Tokyo, where he taught from 1973 to 2007—divides his time between France and Japan.
Julian Opie is an internationally renowned artist of the New British Sculpture movement. Born in 1958 in London, Opie studied at Goldsmith’s School of Art under conceptual artist Michael Craig-Martin. Julian Opie continues to live and work in London.
Opie works in a variety of media including sculpture, painted aluminium, vinyl, and inkjet on canvas. His thick black outlines and simplified blocks of colour are reminiscent of Japanese woodblock prints, Pop Art, and minimalism. Opie’s painted metal sculptures gained international recognition due to their highly stylized nature and their utilisation of basic line and negative space. His work is characterised by his ability to create simplified figures that remain uniquely recognisable.
Opie has undertaken many public commissions including works at the City Hall Park, New York (2004), the Mori Building, Omotesando Hill, Japan (2006), River Vitava, Prague (2007), Dublin City Gallery, Ireland (2008), Seoul Square, South Korea (2009), Regent’s Place, London (2011), and Calgary, Canada (2012).
Opie designed the album cover for Best of Blur by British band Blur in 2000 for which he was presented with a Music Week CADS Award the following year. He was earlier awarded the Sargent Fellowship at the British School in Rome in 1995. Opie’s work is held in collections at the National Portrait Gallery, London, the Tate, London, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel is known for his sculptures comprised of hand-blown glass parts. Made for both indoors and out, Othoniel explores history and universal human experiences in his large-scale artworks.
After graduating from the École Nationale Supérieure d'Arts de Paris-Cergy in Cergy-Pontoise, France, in 1988, Othoniel worked with wax and sulphur, exploring their reversible and symbolic properties. Motivated by his preoccupation with the human body and the trauma of the AIDS epidemic, these early sculptures attracted international attention at documenta IX (1992) in Kassel. A set of sulphur works and My Beautiful Closet (1994)—an installation-performance piece featuring dancers filmed in the dark—was included in the exhibition Féminin/Masculin (1994) at Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Since 1993, Othoniel has been incorporating glass (made by internationally renowned glass-blowers in Murano and Basel as well as Monterrey, Sapporo and Firozabad) into his work to address experiences of joy, suffering, loss and recovery. The glass bead necklace has been a recurring motif in Othoniel's work since first appearing in 1996 as giant suspended sculptures in the garden of the Villa Medici in Rome; its beads allude to the human body, bonding and the embracing of both joy and suffering. The following year, the necklace was reduced to a more intimate scale when Othoniel fashioned 1000 of them from blood-red glass beads in memory of the late artist Félix González-Torres, who had been Othoniel's mentor and friend, and had died of AIDS in 1996. Giving away the necklaces at that year's EuroPride festival, Othoniel made a photomontage of the process, titling it Scar-Necklace (1997).
Again using the motif for his public commission titled Le Kiosque des Noctambules (The Kiosk of the Nightwalkers) (2000), Othoniel placed two crown-shaped structures over the subway entrance to the Palais-Royal/Musée du Louvre station in Paris and surrounded it with a fence of aluminium rings, beset with coloured glass beads. The crowns, also made from glass globes, have two different colour schemes representing night and day. Patrons of the subway encounter the colours of the day when emerging from the ground, and the opposite when descending into the ground. Creating the work while he was recovering from heartbreak, Othoniel drew on the idea of the emergence from dark into light as an experience that, though different for everyone, is universal.
Often, Othoniel's other sculptures address more specific social and historical concerns. Bateau de Larmes (Boat of Tears) (2004), for instance, consists of an abandoned Cuban refugee boat from Miami over which the artist erected a canopy of glass globes. Crystal teardrops hang from the canopy, signifying the hardship and suffering faced by Cuban exiles. In his 2018 exhibition Dark Matters at Perrotin New York, Othoniel paid a tribute to the Stonewall riots of 1969 through his sculptural series 'Precious Stonewall' (2010–2017). The artworks are made of glass bricks from India, piled up to give an impression of glossy stone walls. Stacking the glass bricks in a fashion that recalls the way bricks are kept on roadsides in India, Othoniel increasingly experiments with incorporating architectural elements into his work.
Othoniel is also recognised for his rejuvenation of historical sites. Unveiled in 2015, Les Belles Danses (The Beautiful Dances) is a group of three sculptures that marked the reopening of the Water Theatre Grove at Versailles. The sculptures consist of a total of 1,750 glass bubbles set with gold-leaf. Their vibrant forms, seemingly floating or rising out of the fountain in the Grove, were inspired by the dance annotations that Raoul-Auger Feuillet (1653–1710) developed for King Louis XIV in 1701.
In 2016, Othoniel completed the eight-year renovation for the interior spaces of Le Trésor de la Cathédrale d'Angoulême—a 12th-century cathedral whose exteriors had been restored in the then-current neo-Romanesque style by the French architect Paul Abadie between 1852 and 1875. For his permanent addition to the cathedral, Othoniel employed his geometric motifs and his signature hand-blown glass globes from Murano in a colour scheme of mostly blue and gold, to reimagine the site as an absorbing spectacle.
Othoniel's work has recently been shown at Perrotin New York (2018); Kukje Gallery, Seoul (2016, 2010); Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston (2015); Karuizawa New Art Museum (2014); Perrotin Paris (2013); and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (2006) among others. His participation in international exhibitions includes the Venice Biennale (2009, 1995); Istanbul Biennial (2007, 1992); and the Gwangju Biennale (2000). In 2011 he held a major retrospective at the Centre Pompidou, titled My Way, which travelled between 2011 and 2012 to Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Macao Museum of Art; and the Brooklyn Museum, New York.
Othoniel lives and works in Paris.
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.
French sculptor Bernar Venet is known for creating abstract pieces that make reference to the language of mathematical concepts and scientific theories, transposing them into the realm of Art. Whether displayed within white walls or installed in the natural landscape, his monumental sculptures often engage the surrounding environment in resonant dialogue. Venet explores the dynamics of material, form and force – his experiments with coal, tar, cinder and steel harness the qualities of natural elements to construct a beauty that is rational yet organic. In 1970’s, he started creating the Bows and Angles series, and progressed to his Indeterminate Lines sculptures in the early 1980’s. A conceptually rigorous artist, Venet’s oeuvre has a distinctive formal clarity drawn from mathematical constructs, but which also emanate a profound spiritual presence and harmony.
Kukje Gallery has been a pivotal cultural hub in Seoul, Korea since its inception in 1982. Kukje Gallery is located in the heart of Samcheong-dong, a historically and culturally significant district. The gallery boasts three unique buildings, each titled according to its age: K1, K2, and K3. K2 opened in 2007 to celebrate the gallery’s 25th anniversary, and K3 opened in 2012 to commemorate its 30th anniversary.
Committed to showcasing both international and Korean artists, Kukje is widely celebrated for its diverse and ambitious programming. Specializing in modern and contemporary art, Kukje is often the first venue in Korea to present prominent artists, and major exhibitions have been staged to introduce leading international artists such as Anthony Caro, Anselm Kiefer, Alexander Calder, Louise Bourgeois, Donald Judd, Anish Kapoor, Bill Viola, Roni Horn, Candida Höfer, Julian Opie, Paul McCarthy, Jenny Holzer, Eva Hesse and Jean-Michel Othoniel.
In conjunction with its focus on international artists, Kukje is committed to promoting Korean artists abroad, introducing artists such as Haegue Yang, Kimsooja, Gimhongsok, Kyungah Ham, Yeondoo Jung, Sora Kim and Jae-Eun Choi at major art fairs around the world. Just as importantly, Kukje has made a strong commitment to post-war Korean artists including Ha Chong-Hyun, Lee Ufan, Chung Chang-Sup, Kwon Young-Woo, Park Seo-Bo, and Chung Sang-Hwa. In particular, Kukje has played a critical role in introducing Korean artists to important collectors, museums and cultural venues around the world, and many Korean artists supported by Kukje Gallery have exhibited in international biennials and major museum exhibitions.
These projects along with the gallery’s ambitious and scholarly exhibition catalogues and ongoing lecture series are what make Kukje a significant contributor in shaping Korea’s cultural landscape. Building on its unmatched reputation, Kukje continues to play a key role in developing the domestic art market as well as providing an important venue for introducing international trends.
Established in September 2017, P21 is located in the heart of Seoul, Itaewon district. The gallery is dedicated to contemporary art created in present day by international artists working in diverse media.
Following the inaugural exhibition by Choi Jeong Hwa, one of the foremost figures in Korean contemporary art, P21 continues to promote artists of all levels of career from emerging, mid-career to established.
Its unique space comprised of two separate storefront cubes—P1 and P2—encourages artists to conceive and realize new ideas to result in site-specific presentations. With an international outlook, the gallery endeavours to provide a greater platform for its artists through a close collaboration with institutions and by participating in selected international art fairs.
The international art fair ART BUSAN 2016 will be held from 20th to 23rd of May in Exhibition Center 1 of the BEXCO with 191 galleries in its largest scale in the country.
To meet its reputation as an international art fair, ART BUSAN 2016 presents more than 4,000 artworks from 114 representative galleries in Korea and hosts 77 foreign galleries from 18 countries. A great many galleries from Korea including Kukje Gallery, Gallery Hyundai, GanaArt, ARARIO Gallery, LEEAHN Gallery take part in this festival and this time, Wooson Gallery from Daegu will make its first appearance. Galleries with global reputation including Pearl Lam Galleries from Hong
Kong and Tokio Koyama Gallery from Tokyo have decided to participate once more followed by their participation last year. Philippe Staib gallery from Taipei and MadeIn Gallery from Shanghai, which are new to the Korean market, will be presenting artworks at the fair as well. Moreover, the Shanghai Art Fair will present Chinese contemporary art through Shanghai Art Fair Pavilion, together with 6 galleries from Shanghai.
ART BUSAN has been building up the S-Booth project which offers the solo exhibitions of artists under 40s for new collectors. It has been providing generous support to emerging galleries under 5 years participating in ART BUSAN for the first time by offering booths under exceptional conditions. This year, the total of 12 galleries will be presenting in this section and it is worth paying attention to some of the galleries including CHO Youngcheol of Gallery May, KWON Doyeon of Yeonoje, KWON Cheolhwa of Studio Concerete and KIM Hyeongjung of Space O’NewWall.
Special Exhibitions and Events with Diversity and Depth
ART BUSAN has been continuously exerting efforts in diversifying domestic art fairs which tend to rely on paintings and vitalizing them by introducing experimental work and activities through various special exhibitions. The exhibitions jointly presented by Busan Museum of Art and the Busan biennale are worth attending.
Reinterpretation Visuelle du Chateau is the special exhibition of French artists organized to commemorate the 130th anniversary of the diplomatic relation between Korea and France which hosts paintings and sculptures by Gael Davrinche, Michel Duport, Timothee Talard, Jean-Marie Haessle. The exhibition is held in collaboration with Busan Museum of Art during the ART BUSAN show and will continue until the early July at the museum. There is also a special exhibition where people can meet the upcoming Busan Biennale in the second half on the year. The Busan Biennale Archive Exhibition plans to demonstrate the history of the Busan Biennale over the last 36 years and the preview to the 2016 Busan Biennale as well as its recent outcomes on the Cite International des Arts Residency project.
Such strengthened cooperation with public institutions mark the goal of ART BUSAN as to form the three pillars of the Busan art world consisting of the biennale, art fairs, and Busan Museum of Art, and represent the elevated status of ART BUSAN as an international art event at the same time.
This year, independent curator Kim Sungyeon takes charge of “Art Accent”, the exhibition sponsored by Busan Bank, which introduces artists working in the Busan and Gyeongnam regions to the public. The participating artists are presenting an installation work using temporary structures as well as the wall of the exhibition hall which exhibits artworks based on installation, screen, sound, plane and other mediums in one structure in distinctive manner. The program also hosts the outdoor sculpture exhibition and the special exhibitions of JANG Seunghyo and GANG Juri which is jointly introduced by the Celebrity magazine.
Talk Break, the lecture program sponsored by Star Motors, Inc., the official dealer of Mercedes Benz and the title sponsor of ART BUSAN, hosts David Chau, a collector and the founder of ART021 in Shanghai, and provides a VIP collector talk session.
Special Programs for VIP Collectors
ART BUSAN has been differentiating itself from other art fairs based on its aggressive sales marketing strategies. This year, for the first time, it provides a sponsoring program titled “Art Supporters”, which organizes partnerships with corporations and hospitals in Busan and connect them to galleries for purchasing artworks. “Specialist Tour” is the VIP program introduced in Art Show Busan 2013, which offers customized art consulting services by professional specialists for the different needs and interests of clients. It has become the special program of ART BUSAN which satisfies both galleries and collectors through helping new collectors getting familiar with art markets and providing latest market information to old collectors.
Followed by the previous year’s success, ART BUSAN invites a group of art collectors from Shanghai once again. The number of collectors invited from other Asian nations has doubled as well. Taking advantage of Haeundae, the fair organized a tourist program which combines a Yacht tour and high-end hotels to attract VIP clients from Seoul and abroad. It also signed partnerships with 10 famous restaurants in the area, which will offer special benefits to VIPs.
ART BUSAN hosts a contemporary art festival which both art collectors and citizens can enjoy by offering a variety of public programs along with the fair exhibitions. It also shares information on exhibitions and performances with museums, galleries, and culture villages in Busan and supplies ‘Art Bus’ for free so visitors can appreciate various art spaces in Busan within a limited time.
High expectations are on ART BUSAN, the largest art fair in the first half year, as how and what topics it will bring up. Starting from VIP and press preview on the 19th of May, ART BUSAN will be held in Exhibition Center 1 of the BEXCO from 20th to 23rd.
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