Collateral Event of the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
Exhibition Dates: April 23 – August 24, 2022
Venue: Palazzetto Tito (Istituzione Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa)
Curator: Sunjung Kim
Kukje Art and Culture Foundation is pleased to present a solo exhibition of work by Ha Chong-Hyun, on view at Palazzetto Tito (Istituzione Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa) as Collateral Event of the Biennale Arte 2022 from April 23 - August 24, 2022. Predominantly known for his Dansaekhwa paintings, Ha Chong-Hyun (b. 1935) has relentlessly devoted his lifelong career to exploring and understanding materials and their properties. The retrospective, featuring a curated selection of more than twenty of Ha’s works from the past six decades, will present the full breadth of his materials, methods, and creative experimentation. Curated by Sunjung Kim, Artistic Director of Art Sonje Center, the exhibition will comprise five sections: (1) the 1967- 1968 Naissance series that highlights traditional elements and White Paper on Urban Planning series that addresses urbanization; (2) the early 1960s Informel style, works produced during Ha’s involvement with the Korean Avant-Garde Association (AG) since 1969, and his early Conjunction series; (3) the 1990s to 2010s that reveal the progression of his Conjunction series; (4) the Post-Conjunction series from 2008 to 2012; and (5) latest works dated after 2020, along with new pieces produced for the show. The Collateral Event is supported by La Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice; Kukje Gallery, Seoul; and Tina Kim Gallery, New York.
Trained as a painter and quickly emerging as a leading artist during the period of postwar reconstruction in Korea, Ha began his career by developing his own artistic vocabulary beyond the bounds of painting, reflecting his broad interests in the contemporary social milieu. After graduating from Hongik University in 1959, he produced abstract works which were linked to the then prevalent Korean Informel movement, but his distinctive use of dark tones, which he created by burning the canvas surface with fire, distinguished his works from the mainstream. The resulting palette evoked a powerful balance of aesthetic refinement and the bleak spirit of the time, an era still shadowed by the traumas of war.
Upon returning from his participation in the Biennale de Paris in 1965, the artist shifted his practice, exploring Korean traditional decorative art methods such as the dancheong patterns, colors, and weaving. Between 1969 and 1973, as an active member of the avant-garde artist collective named AG (Avant-Garde Association), he experimented with space by producing site-specific installations; it was during this period that Ha began to make three-dimensional works with non-traditional materials such as barbed wire, plaster, timber, newspaper, and the burlap that was used to transport food aid from the U.S. following the Korean War. In 1974 he began his acclaimed Conjunction series which employs bae-ap-bub, the artist’s innovative method of pushing oil paint through the back of the coarse canvas weave to the front. This 2 / 9 approach personifies Ha’s commitment to constantly challenging the status quo and developing a unique artistic vocabulary. Surveying his oeuvre, this exhibition will capture not only the artist’s endless creative and experimental energy, but also his pioneering role in the development of "contemporary" Korean art.
The exhibition curator Sunjung Kim shared, “Having lived through Korea’s turbulent modern history that encompasses the Korean War and the division of the peninsula, the postwar economic development policy, and the military regime–all within a period marked by Japanese Occupation, Liberation, and the Cold War, Ha is living proof that art and society are inseparable.”
Sunjung Kim is a Seoul-based curator who has played a pivotal role in linking Korean contemporary art and the international world. Kim served as President of Gwangju Biennale from 2017 to 2021 and Director of Art Sonje Center from 2016 to 2017. Kim worked as Co-Artistic Director of the 9th Gwangju Biennale in 2012 for which her research explored the multiple layers of histories and narratives that enclose possibilities of intimacy, autonomy, and anonymity within the urban sphere. Kim further served as Artistic Director of Seoul Mediacity Biennale in 2010.
Born in Sancheong, Korea in 1935, Ha Chong-Hyun has lived and worked in Seoul since graduating from Hongik University in 1959. Awarded an honorary doctorate degree, he served as the Dean of the Fine Arts College at his alma mater from 1990 to 1994. From 2001 to 2006, Ha was the Director of the Seoul Museum of Art. His work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Kukje Gallery, Seoul (2022, 2015); Tina Kim Gallery, New York (2021, 2018, 2015); Almine Rech Gallery, London (2020, 2017); Daejeon Museum of Art, Korea (2020); Kukje Gallery, Busan (2019); Cardi Gallery, Milan (2019); Blum & Poe, Tokyo (2019); Almine Rech Gallery, Paris (2017); Blum & Poe, Los Angeles (2016); Blum and Poe, New York (2014); and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea (2012); among others. Ha Chong-Hyun has presented in group exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2019); the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, South Korea (2019); Song Art Museum, Beijing, China (2019); Powerlong Art Museum, Shanghai (2018); Daegu Art Museum, Korea (2018); The Warehouse, Dallas (2018); Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo (2017); Erarta Museum, St. Petersburg (2017); Brooklyn Museum, New York (2017); and the Seoul Museum of Art, Korea (2017), among others. His work can be found in the collections of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Centre Pompidou, France; M+, Hong Kong; Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Japan; Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Japan; Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima, Japan; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea; Leeum Museum of Art, Korea; Seoul Museum of Art, Korea; and Gwangju Museum of Art, Korea; among others.
KUKJE ART AND CULTURE FOUNDATION
Kukje Art and Culture Foundation was founded in 2020 and has been committed to the revitalization of the art and cultural industry through research activities and exhibitions. The main goal of Kukje Art and Culture Foundation is to cultivate and promote both emerging and established Korean artists. Seeking future directions for art, the foundation runs educational and sponsorship projects and showcases major presentations of Korean Artists on international platforms. Formerly known as Kukje Academy, it has also supported art scholars and research studies such as the contribution on Dansaekhwa movement; it has sponsored an exhibition of Dansaekhwa in collaboration with the Boghossian Foundation in 2016, and most recently, has supported major museum acquisitions of Korean Art at Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA) and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
LA FONDAZIONE BEVILACQUA
La Fondazione Bevilacqua has been promoting contemporary art in Venice since 1899. Operating with two main exhibition centers, the Galleria di Piazza San Marco and Palazzetto Tito, La Fondazione Bevilacqua has exhibited an impressive roster of international artists in Venice such as Richard Hamilton, Yoko Ono, Kimsooja, William Kentridge, Marlene Dumas, Alex Katz, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Lucy Orta, Peter Doig, Lucy McKenzie, and Enzo Fiore. La Fondazione Bevilacqua runs one of the oldest residency programs in Italy that offers twelve ateliers each year to twelve young artists who have distinguished themselves in the field of visual arts.
Established in the heart of Seoul in 1982, Kukje Gallery is a leading Korean gallery dedicated to showcasing works by Korean and international artists and promoting modern and contemporary art. In the city’s historic Jongno neighborhood, the gallery has 3 key exhibition spaces, respectively named K1, K2, and K3. In 2018, the gallery opened a second location in F1963, a cultural complex housed in a former wire factory in Busan. Kukje Gallery represents an eclectic range of international artists, from 20th-century bluechip names such as Donald Judd and Alexander Calder to globally renowned contemporary artists including Elmgreen & Dragset, Candida Höfer, Anish Kapoor, Paul McCarthy, Ugo Rondinone, and Jean-Michel Othoniel. The gallery also shows works by key members of Dansaekhwa—a postwar Korean movement characterized by the use of mundane materials and experimentation with the pictorial plane—including Ha Chong-Hyun, Chung Chang-Sup, Kwon Young-Woo, Lee Ufan, and Park Seo-Bo.
TINA KIM GALLERY
Founded in New York in 2001 by Tina Kim and located in Chelsea, Tina Kim Gallery is celebrated for its unique programming that emphasizes international contemporary artists, historical overviews, and independently curated shows. With the gallery’s strong focus on Asian contemporary artists, Tina Kim has become a leading figure in introducing the Korean Dansaekwha to the American audience. Furthermore, she has created a platform for both emerging and established artists such as Ghada Amer, Tania Pérez Córdova, Pacita Abad, Minouk Lim and Mire Lee. Through its programming, the gallery works closely with internationally renowned curators for special exhibitions and produces scholarly art publications.