New York - Galerie Perrotin

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“Ecriture(描法)No. 000729”, 2000. Acrylic with Korean Hanji paper on canvas. 182 x 228 cm / 71 3/4 x 89 3/4 inches
PARK SEO-BO “Ecriture”
Galerie Perrotin, New York
May 28 – July 3, 2015
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 28, 6-8pm
Galerie Perrotin, New York is pleased to present the second exhibition dedicated to Korean artist Park Seo-Bo, following his first solo show at
Galerie Perrotin, Paris last November.
Born in 1931, Park Seo-Bo is a seminal figure in Korean contemporary art and one of the founding members of the Dansaekhwa monochrome
movement, a synthesis between traditional Korean spirit and Western abstraction, which emerged in the early 1970s in post-war Korea and
has gained international recognition since. An official collateral event in this year’s 56th Venice Biennial, “Dansaekhwa”, is currently held at the
Palazzo Contarini-Polignac (until August 15) and on the occasion of the Year of Korea in France (2015-2016), a major exhibition dedicated to
Korean artists in France - including Park Seo-Bo, will take place at the Cernuschi Museum in Paris: "From Lee Ungno to Lee Ufan: Korean
Artists in France" (16 October 2015 - January 2016). Although the Korean monochrome movement has never been defined with a manifesto,
the artists affiliated with Dansaekhwa, including Chung Chang-Sup and Lee Ufan, are commonly known for their use of a neutral palette (namely
white, beige and black), their material emphasis of the pictorial components and fabrics, and their gestural and systematical engagement within
the artworks in the making. As a matter of fact, in Park Seo-Bo’s paintings, process and discipline prevail, whereas the French Art Informel
scene originally inspired the artist’s early aesthetics.
Indeed, back in 1961, Park Seo-Bo earned a UNESCO scholarship to study and ended up spending a whole year in Paris, where he furthered his
knowledge of Art Informel, which arose in Europe parallel to the American Abstract Expressionism during World War II and became prevalent
throughout the 1950s. As soon as 1957, Park Seo-Bo had already helped establish in Seoul the Hyun-Dae Artists Association around the principles
of Art Informel, the gestural and abstract techniques of which, like those of Action Painting and Color Field in the United States, would enable
young Korean artists to express their anguish in the immediate aftermath of the Korean War. The influence of Art Informel in the early works
of Park Seo-Bo can be seen in his series “Primordialis” from the early 1960s, which is characterized by aggressive brushstrokes, dark hues and
amorphous forms. Yet by the mid-1960s, the artist had already rejected the occidental manners that he had primarily adopted and started devoting
his time to learning about oriental philosophy.
Park Seo-Bo’s own pictorial tabula rasa, if you will, and subsequent spiritual introspection gave birth to the series of monochromes he calls
“Ecriture”, which means ‘writing’ in French and has become the generic title of all his artworks and exhibitions since 1967. For almost 50 years
now, within a strict and reduced vocabulary - which he narrowed down to the repetition of simple patterns echoing throughout his paintings
and the limited color palette of Dansaekhwa - Park Seo-Bo has never ceased to empty his monochromes from, if not the trace of his gestural
commitment, self-expression or the emotional outpouring that a single impulsive stroke carried in his early days. In this regard, his pictorial
endeavors do certainly share some striking similarities with the parallel evolution in France of “the painter of black”, Pierre Soulages, who also
started off his career as a leading figure of Art Informel.
Park Seo-Bo’s exhibition at Galerie Perrotin, New York presents a broad selection of paintings corresponding to different periods of “Ecriture”,
his lifelong and existential exploration of monochrome. Throughout the 1970s, the artist employed an original technique, which consisted of
inscribing repetitive linear or arabesque patterns with a pencil onto the wet surface of oil paint, which had been previously applied to the canvas.
In the process of making what he came to refer to as his “white drawings”, which are reminiscent of the art of calligraphy, Park Seo-Bo learned to
control and extend himself onto his canvas, so as to become one with his work. This epitomizes the fusion of mind and body, which is essential
to Asian philosophy, as opposed to the Western Cartesian premise of a split.
In the early 1980s, Park Seo-Bo began to experiment with Korean hanji, a traditional handmade paper made out of mulberry bark, which became
his fabric of choice and the key to his unique technique. From this point forward, the artist would first and systematically pile onto his canvas
layers of wet hanji, which had been previously saturated with watercolor paint, before proceeding to the meticulous molding of repetitive
geometrical patterns with the pressure of his fingers or tools onto the textile thickness. In other words, the fabric itself would actually record
the artist’s repeated gestures. Since the 1990s, which Park Seo-Bo refers to as his “black and white” period, the patterns have become exclusively
vertical furrows stretching from top to bottom all over his paintings, while the 2000s mark the progressive introduction of vivid colors into his
monochromes, leaving behind the neutral hues of Dansaekhwa. His renewed palette is inspired by the colors he found in nature or the cityscape
of Seoul, where he lives and works.
Park Seo-Bo’s minimalistic aesthetics have often been formally compared to that of Western Minimalism. However, they differ greatly in intent,
as the approach of the latter is purely conceptual. If both claim to clear art of self-expression in reaction to either Art Informel or Abstract
Expressionism, Park Seo-Bo’s repetition of geometrical patterns, which are handmade as opposed to modular and manufactured, is the actual
means of his spiritual journey towards self-purification, the sine qua non of enlightenment. Park Seo-Bo makes art to empty his mind and his
exceptional discipline – some of his works take up to a year to complete – is similar to the meditative routine of a Buddhist monk. Both aspire to
a higher level of awareness beyond the limitations of the ego, which, accordingly, one must break free from.
Violaine Boutet de Monvel
Park Seo-Bo (b. in 1931, Yecheon, Korea) graduated from the Department of Western Painting of the College of Fine Arts of Hongik
University, Seoul where he was later the Dean of the College of Fine Arts. Park’s works are in the collection of major institutions over
the world, including DIA Art Foundation in the United States; FNAC (Fonds National d’Art Contemporain) in France; Museum of
Contemporary Art, Tokyo and Fukuoka Art Museum in Japan; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul Museum of Art, and
Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art in Korea. Park has had multiple solo shows in significant institutions such as Daegu Art Museum (2012),
Busan Museum of Art (2010) in Korea, Musée d’Art Moderne de Saint-Etienne Métropole (2006-2007) and National Museum of Contemporary
Art, Gwacheon, Korea (1991). His works were included in group exhibitions in Carlo Bilotti Museum, Rome (2013), National Museum of
Contemporary Art, Korea (2012), Singapore Art Museum (2008-2009), Tate Gallery Liverpool (1992), the Venice Biennale (1988), and the
Biennale de Paris (1963).
"Ecriture(描法)No. 980308" 1998
Black ink, white clam and oyster shell powder
and glue with Korean Hanji paper on canvas
89 3/4 x 71 3/4 inches / 228 x 182 cm
"Ecriture(描法)No. 980717" 1998
Black ink, white clam and oyster shell powder and glue with Korean Hanji paper on canvas
78 3/4 x 102 1/4 inches / 200 x 260 cm
Park Seo-Bo was born in Yé-Cheon, Gyeong-Buk, Korea in 1931. He lives and works in Seoul, Korea.
SOLO SHOWS (Selection)
"Ecriture" Galerie Perrotin, Paris, France
Gallery Shilla, Daegu Korea; Daegu Art Museum, Daegu, Korea
"Park, Seo-Bo, a Forerunner of Korean Avant-garde: Record His 60 years", Busan Museum of Art, Busan, Korea; Kukje Gallery, Seoul, Korea
"Empty the mind”, Gallery Arario New York, USA
"PARK, SEO-BO Today Playing with Color", Gyeonggido Museum of Art, Ansan, Korea; Gallery Arario, Beijing, China
Cabinet des Dessins, Musée d‘art Moderne, Saint-Etienne Métropole, Saint-Etienne, France
Ace Gallery Los Angeles, USA; Remba Gallery, Los Angeles, USA; Jo Hyun Gallery, Busan, Korea; Gallery Sejul, Seoul, Korea; Gallery Hyundai, Seoul, Korea
Ace Gallery Los Angeles, USA; Remba Gallery, Los Angeles, USA; Park Ryu Sook Gallery, Seoul, Korea; Ci-Gong Gallery, Daegu, Korea
"PARK, SEO-BO’s Painting: Its Forty Years", The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea
Hyundai Gallery, Seoul, Korea
Tokyo Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; Tong-In Gallery, Seoul, Korea
Muramatsu Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; Myungdong Gallery, Seoul, Korea
National Central Library Gallery, Seoul, Korea
GROUP SHOWS (Selection)
1977, 1969
1975, 1965
"Dansaekhwa", Palazzo Contarini-Polignac, Venice, Italy (6 May - 15 August, 2015); "From Lee Ungno to Lee Ufan: Korean Artists in France", Musée Cernuschi, Paris, France
(16 October 2015 - January 2016)
“From all Sides : TANSAEKHWA on Abstraction” Blum and Poe, Los Angeles, USA; The Art of DANSAEKHWA, Kukje Gallery, Seoul; Overcoming the Modern "Dansaekhwa:
The Korean Monochrome Movement", Alexander Gray Associates, New York, USA
"White & White -Dialogue between Korea and Italy", Museo Carlo Bilotti, Rome, Italy
"DANSAEKHWA: Korean Monochrome Painting", National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea; Jeonbok Museum of Art, Wanju, Korea
"DANSAEKJO Paintings.1", GongGan Purple, Heiri Paju, Korea
"Soul of Line", Ungno Lee Museum, Daejeon, Korea;
"The Color of Nature- Monochrome Art in Korea", Well Side Gallery, Shanghai, China
"Transcendence: Modernity and Beyond in Korean Art", Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
"Korean Abstract Art: 1958-2008", Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea
"Elastic Taboos-Within the Korean World of Contemporary Art", Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria
"Tradition und Zeitgeist – Koreanische Gegenwarts Kunst", Galerie Hellhof & Galerie Hana, Kronberg Germany; Das Koreanische Monochrom –Park, Seo-Bo/ Lee "Ufan/
Kim, Guirin/ Yun, Hyong-Keun", Galerie Dorothea Van der Koelen Mainz, Mainz, Germany
"Monochrome Paintings of Korea, Past and Present", Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea
"Korean Contemporary Art from the 1970’s to mid-1980’s: Age of Philosophy and Aesthetics", National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea
"Korean Contemporary Art from mid-1960s to mid-1970: A Decade of Transition and Dynamics", National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea
"An Aspect of Korean Contemporary Art in the 1950s to the 1960s", National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea
"Les Peintres du silence", Musée des Arts Asiatiques, Nice, France
"Les Peintres du silence - La Corée d’aujourd’hui", Musée Château des ducs de Wurtemberg, Montbéliard, France
"Working with Nature: Traditional Thought in Contemporary Art from Korea", Tate Gallery Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
"Contemporary Korean Painting", Zagreb, Ljublijana, Sarajevo, Belgrade
The 43rd La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy
"SEOUL-PARIS", Seoul Press Center Gallery & Centre National des Arts Plastiques, Seoul, Korea & Paris, France
"Korean Drawing Now", The Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA
Secondes Rencontres Internationales d’Art Contemporain, Galeries Nationales du Grand Paris, Paris, France
The 1st & 8th Cagnes International Painting Festival, Cagnes-sur-Mer, France
"Korea : Five Artists Five Hinsek", White, Tokyo Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
The 8th & 13rd Biennale de São Paulo, Brazil
"Korean Contemporary Painting Exhibition", Paris, France & West Germany
"Korean Contemporary Painting Exhibition", India, Afganistan, Nepal
The 3rd Biennale de Paris, Paris, France
"4 Young Korean Artists Exhibition",Galerie Lambert, Paris, France
The First Saigon International Biennale Exhibition, Saigon, Vietnam
Jeunes Peintres du Monde (Held by National Committee of I.A.A France), Paris, France
Press Contacts
Natacha Polaert - Nouvelle Garde - [email protected]
Héloïse le Carvennec - Galerie Perrotin - [email protected]

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