Overcoming the Modern Dansaekhwa: The Korean Monochrome Movement

Exhibition 전시회 2014. 2. 19. 23:19

Overcoming the Modern 

Dansaekhwa: The Korean Monochrome Movement 

Chung Sang-hwa 

Ha Chong-hyun 

Hur Hwang 

Lee Dong-Youb 

Lee Ufan 

Park Seo-bo 

Yun Hyong-keun 

February 19 – March 29, 2014

Alexander Gray Associates

508 West 26 Street #215 New York 

NY 10001 United States 

Telephone: +1 212 399 2636 


Curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath

Opening Reception: Wednesday, February 19, 2014, 6:00 - 8:00 pm 

Curators' Walkthrough: Wednesday, February 19, 2014, 7:00 pm

Overcoming the Modern features paintings and works on paper by some of the leading figures of Danseakhwa. Through a selection spanning three decades of artistic production, the exhibition highlights the artists’ efforts to make art that defies national identity and cultural production. The movement highlights the struggle between notions of belonging, national identity, and artistic innovation resulting from a negotiation with local cultural specificity and a Western notion of modernity. 

The Korean Monochrome painters’ emphasis on materiality was intended to intensify the viewer’s encounter with the artwork, and consequently, to destroy the traditional hierarchy of power between the artist and the viewer. Joan Kee, author of Contemporary Korean Art: Tansaekhwa and the Urgency of Method explains, “In lieu of a schematic whereby the artwork passively transmits the artist’s intention to the equally passive viewer, the artwork is activated only upon the viewer’s sustained engagement with the terms of its material and physical presence.” The locus of the artistic process shifted from the act of making as a final step of a journey dictated and initiated by the artist, to the viewer’s encounter with the artwork’s materiality, which resulted in an aesthetic experience of physical and conceptual dimensions. Lee Ufan described this as a desire to show the world (sekai) as it is while subverting the hierarchies of signification embedded in Western modernism as a way to provide an alternative outlook on the experience of the world. 

In discussing the exhibition, the curators noted, “After two years of research, studio visits and looking at several collections in South Korea we are excited to bring together works of some of the most prominent members of Danseakhwa at Alexander Gray Associates. The exhibition seeks to evade debates about art, identity, and nationalism, narratives with which the movement has been entangled since its very inception. We aim to focus on the conceptual and formal innovations that artists Ha Chong-hyun, Hur Hwang, Lee Dong-Youb, Lee Ufan, Park Seo-bo, and Yun Hyong-keun have achieved by negotiating modernity and their desire for constant contemporaneity.”