Kukje Gallery is very pleased to announce an exhibition of recent paintings by Kim Hong Joo. This solo exhibition is his first since 2010 and features twelve new works presenting a comprehensive overview of the artist’s last decade. Central to the artist’s most recent works is his masterful brushwork together with his efforts to challenge the scope and definitions of painting, portraying subjects while simultaneously leaving the works in a state of indeterminacy.
Kim Hong Joo’s earliest work in the 1970s developed a new form of photorealistic painting, created in response to the predominance of abstract painting in Korea at that time. Drawing photorealistic images onto everyday objects such as mirrors, windows, and vanities, Kim investigated the border between representation and illusion. Beginning in the mid-1980s, Kimfurther expanded his practice by using fine calligraphy brushes, a technique that quickly established his signature style. He often imposed a set of structural limitations by borrowing subject matter from everyday contexts. These limited subjects frame the three major chapters in the artist’s career, beginning with fields and cityscapes from the mid-80s to mid-90s, calligraphy inthe 1990s, and flowers and leaves from the mid-90s to mid-2000s.
For this exhibition, Kim continues to subvert the role of narrative. His simple repetitive brushstrokes accumulate into dense groupings of marks that remain resistant to interpretation,disturbing their pictorial legibility while powerfully evoking the artist’s hand. In this way, Kim’s oeuvre is defined by his ongoing commitment to aporia and the fertile place that exists between an initial idea and its completion. In these latest paintings, the artist has employed a grey palette in order to further highlight the details of each miscellaneous mark made on the surface. His layered gestures, coupled with his use of grey, underscore the tactility and materiality of the painted image preserving their enormous details, while his decision to title every work “Untitled” re-emphasizes the lack of specifics of narrative and content.
A dynamic overview of one of Korea’s most celebrated painters, this exhibition reflects Kim Hong Joo’s relentless experimentation and technical efforts to draw essential meanings from the deconstructed image. His work not only challenges the conventional perspective of the viewer, but also prompts new visual criteria for looking at and deciphering objects—allowing for a more open-ended interpretation.
Kim Hong Joo was born in Hoein, Chungcheong Province in 1945. He graduated from Hongik University, Seoul, where he obtained both a BA and MFA in painting. From 1981 to 2010, Kim was a professor of painting at Mokwon University, Daejeon, and is now an emeritus professor. In the 1970s, Kim was involved with S.T (Space and Time) Group, established to promote conceptual art in Korea. He emerged as a prominent figure within the group and began receiving artistic recognition early on from his participation in exhibitions such as Korean Contemporary Artist’s Exhibition-The Latter Half of the 70’th: An Aspect that traveled to Tokyo, Osaka, Utsunomiya, Sapporo, and Fukuoka, Japan. He has also participated in variousexhibitions organized by renowned art institutions around the world including Fukuoka Art Museum (1985); Queens Museum, New York (1993); Lille Metropolitan Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Lille, France(2003); and Singapore Art Museum (2008). His major solo exhibitions include Kumho Museum of Art, Seoul (1997); Plateau, Seoul (2005); Arko Art Center, Seoul (2009); and Kukje Gallery, Seoul (1999, 2002, 2010). Kim was awarded a Grand Prize from the Grand Prix Exhibition of Korean Art (1978); Special Award from the Cagne International Painting Festival (1980); the 6th Lee In-sung Art Award (2005); and the 22nd Lee Joong-seop Art Award (2010). Kim Hong Joo’s work has become part of the collections of major museums including Fukuoka Art Museum; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea; Seoul Museum of Art; Daejeon Museum of Art; and Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul