Left: Park Seo-Bo, Ecriture (描法) No. 23-77. 1977. Right: Park Seo-Bo, Ecriture (描法) No. 19-78, 1978. © the artist. Photo © White Cube (George Darrell).
But while the similarity might be superficial—given the artists’ disparate backgrounds—the collision of these two cultures has had profound recent repercussions in the art market. Ahead of the White Cube opening this week, a key dealer noted that primary prices for Park and related artists have surged by up to 200% since September 2014. It is part of an ongoing fascination with Dansaekhwa (also transliterated as Tansaekhwa)—translated literally as “monochrome painting”—a loose group of Korean artists who are increasingly popular among buyers seeking underappreciated work to complement existing collections.
This week, Los Angeles’s Blum & Poe opens “Dansaekhwa and Minimalism,” what the gallery calls the first survey of Korean monochromatic painting with American Minimalism, featuring work by Park, Martin, and Kukje Gallery will present a solo exhibition by
“I think it’s inevitable that at the moment there is a general interest on the part of dealers and collectors to look at work by artists who have gone underappreciated and undervalued for a long time,” said Katharine Kostyal, curator of the White Cube show, “Ecriture 1967-1981.” “[It is a] move away from this obsession with the new, and always buying the latest youngest artist, and mining recent history.”
Chung Chang-Sup, Meditation 91108, 1991. Courtesy of Kukje Gallery.
Kostyal attributed much of the credit for this to the Korean galleries who have “done an enormous amount to promote this group of artists to bring their work to greater attention.” Hyun-Sook Lee, founder and chairwoman of Kukje said that when her gallery opened in 1982 “there was no domestic art market in Korea,” but since the 1990s, when international art made inroads, she has “been looking forward to the right opportunity to introduce modern Korean artists” to an international audience. The gallery achieved this partly through a much-praised Dansaekhwa exhibition at the Venice Biennale last year, a joint effort with the Boghossian Foundation and New York’s Tina Kim Gallery. “We expect that interest in the movement will only continue to grow in 2016,” said Kim in an email.
Left: Ha Chonghyun, Conjunction 14-116, 2014. Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo. Right: Kwon Young-woo, Untitled, 1984. Courtesy of the Estate of Kwon Young-woo and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo.
A spokeswoman for Blum’s gallery highlighted a 100-200% increase in primary prices since September 2014 for Park,
“Park Seo-Bo: Ecriture 1967-1981” is on view at White Cube Mason’s Yard, London, Jan. 15–Mar. 12, 2016.
“Dansaekhwa and Minimalism” is on view at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, Jan. 16–Mar. 12, 2016.
“When Process Becomes Form: Dansaekhwa and Korean abstraction in the 1970's and 1980's” is on view at The Boghossian Foundation, Brussels, Feb. 20–April 24, 2016.
Chun Chang-Sup is on view at Kukje Gallery, Seoul, Feb. 26–Mar. 27, 2016.