Ha Chong-hyun at Blum & Poe, Tokyo
Ha Chong-hyun is one of the pioneering figures in the postwar art history of Korea. Amid the extreme material deprivations and an authoritarian political system during the 1960s and 1970s, he explored the potential of unorthodox materials such as newsprint, scrap lumber, and barbed wire attached to canvas.
Ha Chong-hyun and his peers came to be known as the Dansaekhwa movement, which includes artists such as Lee Ufan, Park Seobo, Kwon Young-woo, Yun Hyong-keun, and Chung Sang-hwa. Although the term literally means “monochrome painting,” it is defined by the methods employed as much as its reductionist aesthetics. The artists variously pushed paint, soaked canvas, dragged pencils, ripped paper, and otherwise manipulated materials in ways that troubled the distinctions separating ink painting from oil, painting from sculpture, and object from viewer.
This exhibition presents new and recent works from the Conjunction series that use rich hues of blue, red, and orange, as well as paintings that Ha made by holding a flame to the surface, altering the chemical makeup of the paint. This solo exhibition at Blum & Poe Tokyo follows two major exhibitions of Dansaekhwa in Asia: the Rhythm in Monochrome: Korean Abstract Painting at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2017), and Korean Abstract Art: Kim Whanki and Dansaekhwa, Powerlong Museum, Shanghai, China (2018–19).