Korean Monochromatic Painting – Dansaekhwa

Dansaekhwa is Korean “monochrome painting”. The abstract paintings were inspired by Korea’s political, social and cultural situations in postwar years.

“Wandering” artist Chung Chang-sup used Korean traditional mulberry paper.

Professor Yoon Jin-sup was the curator of a Dansaekhwa exhibition at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea. Yoon saw repetition in the artwork as a result of endless searching for neutrality and transcendence.

“The school is devoted to the process of repetition and specificity of material based on meditative nature, which is the opposite of the Western Minimalism,” Yoon said. Dansaekhwa on the rise.

I find it fascinating that it is not merely focused on producing a monochromatic painting, but treats exploring the properties of paper as a kind of meditative practice.  “A highly refined philosophy of physical action.”

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The unique works of Chung Chang-Sup have been called “unpainted paintings” in which he molds traditional Korean paper made out of mulberry bark. Pigments are not added to the paper pulp and the muted tones that manifest in the works are based on the length of time the paper is soaked in water. Chung’s work reflects his Taoist belief that the creative artist balances material and nature in a unified act of making.

Artist Park Seo-Bo described it as not being about the color, but instead a movement that is focused on reframing our view of nature.  “Exploring the role of the artist as a channel through which energy manifests itself in form.”

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