《Korean Abstract Art: Kim Whanki and Dansaekhwa》
November 8 (Thurs.), 2018 – March 2 (Sat.), 2019
Powerlong Museum, Halls 5/6 (1F), Shanghai, China
Curator: Wang Chunjie(王纯杰)
Participating artists: Kim Whanki, Kwon Young-Woo, Chung Chang-Sup, Park Seo-Bo, Chung Sang-Hwa, Ha Chong-Hyun, Lee Ufan
Shanghai’s Powerlong Museum is pleased to announce Korean Abstract Art: Kim Whanki and Dansaekhwa, the first comprehensive exhibition of Korean abstract art to be held in China, on view from November 8, 2018 to March 2, 2019. The exhibition features seminal works by the 20th century master of Korean abstract painting Kim Whanki (1913–1974), along with leading figures of Dansaekhwa including Kwon Young-Woo (1926–2013), Chung Chang-Sup (1927–2011), Park Seo-Bo (b. 1931), Chung Sang-Hwa (b. 1932), Ha Chong-Hyun (b. 1935), and Lee Ufan (b. 1936). The exhibition provides a historical overview of Dansaekhwa, bringing together approximately eighty pieces from the 1970s to the present and introducing a full chronology of its evolution.
Korean Abstract Art: Kim Whanki and Dansaekhwa is a rare opportunity to comprehensively survey the influential movement and its historical context. Dansaekhwa is a uniquely Korean art movement widely celebrated as one of the most compelling chapters within the history of postwar art in East Asia along with the discrete movements originating in other parts of the region, including realist art in China and the Gutai group and Mono-ha in Japan. The exhibition at the Powerlong Museum follows two previous installments, Dansaekhwa, an official Collateral Event in the 56th Venice Bienniale in 2015 and When Process Becomes Form: Dansaekhwa and Korean Abstraction, held in collaboration with the Belgium-based Boghossian Foundation in 2016. This third exhibition establishes a platform for continued dialogue on the aesthetic impact and ongoing importance of Dansaekhwa and is noteworthy for being held in China where regional themes and related art histories can be directly engaged.
This exhibition features representative works by the widely regarded pioneer of Korean abstraction Kim Whanki, along with those by Dansaekhwa artists. Underlying their embrace of abstraction was the desire to create a distinct Asian modernism in response to western cultural influence. This framing was founded on the attempt to discover the junction between the abstract vocabularies of the west and the traditional aesthetics and philosophies of the east, whilst mirroring the zeitgeist of the 20th century Korean society. The Dansaekhwa artists constructed their conceptual framework of meditation and aesthetic philosophy, providing a robust synthesis of process based on mark-making and meditation that is heralded today as Korean abstraction, which is presented as the overarching theme of the exhibition.
Wang Chunjie, the curator of the exhibition, has written a comprehensive overview of the significance of Dansaekhwa in the context of Korean art history and culture in the introductory text of the exhibition catalogue. The text highlights that “Dansaekhwa provides a reinterpretation of the deeply engrained spiritual values of Korean culture and western abstract art, and has already created a profound legacy within the Korean art historical context through decades of development and experimentation.”
Shanghai's Powerlong Museum is an institution that presents new directions for the arts and culture sector of the Powerlong Group, one of China's biggest and most respected corporations. Since its launch in 2017, the museum has earned its reputation as an institution that pursues and advances traditional mediums and forms of oriental aesthetics within a contemporary context. The opening of Korean Abstract Art: Kim Whanki and Dansaekhwa at the Powerlong Museum is part of the museum's enduring attempt to balance the traditional and the contemporary, introducing new possibilities from when the first international exhibition of the seminal movement was held under the title Dansaekhwa at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015.
Wendy Xu (许华琳), the Executive Administrator of Powerlong Culture, anticipates that Korean Abstract Art: Kim Whanki and Dansaekhwa will not only offer a timely introduction to Dansaekhwa to Chinese audiences, but also renew interest in East Asian arts and culture in broader terms. Xu has remarked that “Dansaekhwa works surrender themselves to the elements of nature, exuding their inherent calmness and precision, as if all facets are in complete harmony with one another,” and further that “the abundance of oriental sentiment and value embedded in these works, along with the creative paths and artistic ideologies these Korean abstract artists have presented, will resonate with today’s Chinese audiences and provide many essential points for discourse.”
Concurrently, the Powerlong Museum will also open an exhibition titled ART HISTORY SHAPED BY 40 ARTISTS, curated by the renowned Chinese curator Lv Peng (呂澎). This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Chinese economic reform that took place in 1978 and in order to commemorate the occasion, the Powerlong Museum will celebrate the vital role of modern and contemporary art through the work of forty outstanding artists who have been active in both China and abroad since 1978. Combined with Korean Abstract Art: Kim Whanki and Dansaekhwa, these two exhibitions will provide a platform to juxtapose parallel chapters of art history from both Korean and Chinese perspectives.
About the Powerlong Museum (寶龍美術館), Shanghai
Shanghai’s Powerlong Museum was founded in 2017, based on the mission to “carry forth Chinese traditional culture, promote contemporary art.” It is directed by Mr. Hoi Kin Hong, Chairman of the Powerlong Group. Since its launch, the Powerlong Museum has spearheaded the promotion of wider public understanding of contemporary art through curatorial projects as well as academic events and educational activities open to the general public. The permanent collection at the Powerlong Museum brings together important works by Chinese modern and contemporary masters including Qi Baishi, Zhang Daqian, Cai Guo-Qiang, and Zhan Wang, and is continuing to expand its collection by also acquiring works by seminal international artists. Occupying a total area of 23,000m2, the museum is composed of ten exhibition halls of varying sizes from 500m2 to 1,000m2. Three of these exhibition halls are used to display the museum’s permanent collection, while the remaining seven are utilized for curated exhibitions on contemporary art. The museum is operated under the direction of Wendy Xu, the Executive Administrator of Powerlong Culture, who also oversees the operations of the Powerlong Art Center and XU Gallery, which are under the auspices of the Powerlong Group along with the museum.
About the Powerlong Group (寶龍集團) Founder Mr. Hoi Kin Hong (許健康)
Mr. Hoi Kin Hong founded the Powerlong Group in 1990. He is widely regarded as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in China in addition to playing a significant role in Chinese political affairs and philanthropy. Supporting its mission to contribute to urban prosperity and to create new values, the Powerlong Group has made an impact in five crucial sectors of urban development: real estate, commercial property, hotel and tourism, arts and culture, and the information industry. For his longstanding contributions, Mr. Hoi Kin Hong has received many honors and accolades and is prominently listed on respected rankings including “The Most Influential Entrepreneurs in China,” “Charity Special Contribution Award of China,” “China’s Top 10 Figures of Industry Innovation Award,” “Contributor to Real Estate Brands in China,” “China’s Commercial Property Figures of the Year,” and more.