Overcoming the Modern

Dansaekhwa: The Korean Monochrome Movement

Throughout the 1960s, a disparate number of young Korean artists discarded realism and figuration and adopted a monochromatic palette and artistic techniques that highlighted the flatness of the canvas as a foundation for later accretions and the plastic qualities of the used materials.

The Korean Monochrome painters’ emphasis on materiality was intended to intensify the viewer’s encounter with the artwork, and consequently, to destroy the traditional hierarchy of power between the artist and the viewer. The locus of the artistic process shifted from the act of making as a final step of a journey dictated and initiated by the artist, to the viewer’s encounter with the artwork’s materiality, which resulted in an aesthetic experience of physical and conceptual dimensions. Lee Ufan described this as a desire to show the world (sekai) as it is while subverting the hierarchies of signification embedded in Western modernism as a way to provide an alternative outlook on the experience of the world.

Overcoming the Modern is the first Danseakhwa exhibition in New York City featuring paintings and works on paper by some of the leading figures of this group of artists. It. Through a selection spanning three decades of artistic production, the exhibition highlights the artists’ efforts to make art that defies national identity and cultural production.

Artists: Chung Sang-Hwa, Ha Chong-Hyun, Hur Hwang, Lee Dong-Youb, Lee Ufan, Park Seo-Bo and Yun Hyong‑Keun.