Explore connections between contemporary Korean art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and works from the National Museum of Korea.
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Suh Se Ok strives to engage the tradition of ink painting with a Modernist sensibility. His abstract works seem paradoxical because, even as they appear to be breaking away from tradition, he employs the traditional tools of ink, brush, and mulberry paper. His decisive yet unrestrained use of the ink brush creates a rhythmic quality in the painting, as well as spontaneity and exuberance in every dot, dash, and line.
The figure in "Karma Juggler" simultaneously creates and captures the swirling concentric circles that represent karma, the Buddhist force created by a person’s actions. In a manner similar to "Contemplative Bodhisattva," Do Ho Suh meditates upon his existence emerging from all others that came before him.
From The Park of Atonement
"There are certain people in the world who long for rainstorms because none exist... Although the disappearance of rainstorms is a natural phenomenon, it tends to happen more quickly in places marked by severe and artificially wrought histories... Thus the places that have been affected by this mindset have such a plenitude of material objects and institutions so as to have negatively affected peoples’ emotional states, and it is at that moment that people begin to long for their difficult pasts... Even though the rainstorm created in the space is not real, it is possible that one might start to cry while standing along under the rain or depending on the water pressure, one might even start to believe that one’s sins can be washed away."
From Meeting Plaza:
"This Meeting Plaza is intended as a social space for those who have a fear of meeting other people or have a pessimistic view when it comes to meeting others. Since a small budget is required for this plaza, the project first requires receiving the consent of the local community. First, and old building that is on the verge of collapse is bought, following an agreement with local residents... The rubble from the building is to be left behind following the demolition, save such dangerous parts as exposed pipes, broken glass and sharp pieces of concrete, which are to be removed or crushed up... One can naturally strike up a conversation as others adjust their postures to regain their balance, by saying that the reason one has to strike this awkward posture is because of the way the plaza is shaped, thus using it as an excuse to start up a dialogue."
Cho Duck-Hyun re-creates vintage photographs in his large-scale charcoal and graphite drawings. This print is based upon a photograph of a Korean couple taken during the 1930s or 1940s, a period when foreign fashions were in vogue. The artist’s desire to connect a moment of Korea’s history to the present manifests in the bride’s long veil emerging from the pictorial plane.
This exhibition is part of the Portal to Korea project at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, generously supported by the National Museum of Korea.