REVIEW: “Constructive Units: Korean Modern and Contemporary Art” @ Christie's Hong Kong

Jan 6, 2015 3:20AM

One of the most rewarding visual experiences is to imagine the process of how an artwork is created. Looking upon the canvas of an artwork, one is able to discover the quiet but compelling ways in which the piece embodies the brilliant and strenuous marks of an artist. The theme of creative production was very much at the center of “Constructive Units: Korean Modern and Contemporary Art,” a group exhibition of five modern and contemporary Korean artists that was held at Christie’s Hong Kong last fall.

Leading the exhibition was Rhee Seundja (1918–2009). Rhee was a seminal abstract painter, who is critically acclaimed for having articulated her Korean aesthetics through her training in Western abstract painting. After marrying and raising a family in Korea, Rhee left her life there to study art in Paris in the 1950s, where she became a practicing artist alongside contemporaries such as Zao Wou-ki and Chu Teh-chun. Exhibited at Christie’s was five of Rhee’s works from her “Mother and Earth” period (1958–68). The large-scale work Memory of Hidden Trees (1963–65) presents countless colorful strokes that form a elegantly created pattern.