Associate Professor Joan Kee has curated the exhibition From All Sides: Tansaekhwa on Abstraction, on view
September 13-November 8, 2014 at Blum & Poe gallery in Los Angeles.
The exhibition is a large-scale survey of Korean monochromatic painting from the 1960s to the 1980s. Consisting of more than thirty-five seminal paintings, the show is the first major overview of Tansaekhwa in North America, focusing on six of its most representative artists: Chung Sang-hwa, Ha Chonghyun, Kwon Young-woo, Lee Ufan, Park Seobo, and Yun Hyongkeun.
Background: From the mid-1960s and especially during the 1970s, Tansaekhwa artists variously pushed paint, soaked canvas, dragged pencils, ripped paper, and otherwise manipulated materials in ways that productively troubled the distinctions separating ink painting from oil, painting from sculpture, and object from viewer. Mostly rendered in white, cream, black, brown, and other neutral hues, Tansaekhwa works invited and deflected the gaze of the viewer in ways that enabled audiences to affirm their own sense of presence, an effect with significant implications against the backdrop of authoritarian South Korea. By the early 1980s, Tansaekhwa was the first Korean artistic movement to be successfully promoted internationally. Viewers in Seoul, Tokyo, Taipei, and Paris saw in its most representative examples the possibility of imagining what a distinct contemporary Asian art might look like, thus setting off a pattern of recognition that anticipated what is described as contemporary art's "global turn."
The show is curated by Joan Kee, Associate Professor of History of Art at the University of Michigan and a leading authority on contemporary Asian art. Her book, Contemporary Korean Art: Tansaekhwa and the Urgency of Method (University of Minnesota Press, 2013), was one of four finalists for the Charles Rufus Morey Award, which honors an especially distinguished book in art history by the College Art Association. The exhibition will be accompanied by a substantial catalogue with over one hundred images, narrative artist biographies, twelve newly translated artist texts, and a scholarly essay by the curator featuring previously unpublished archival sources.