Ha Chonghyun


oil on canvas
47 1/4 x 63 inches

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, a group of Korean artists known as Tansaekhwa (“monochromatic painting”) developed a radical approach to painting, in part as a reaction against the dominant style of the academy and the backdrop of an authoritarian South Korea. The artists soaked canvas, ripped paper, pushed paint, and dragged pencils, breaking down the traditional methods and categories set up by academic institutions. Ha Chonghyun, one of the early artists who spearheaded the movement, engages in meditative, performative processes to create muted canvases that affirm their (and the viewer’s) real physical presence. To create the works in his Conjunction series (1974-2009), Ha presses oil paint through the back of the canvas (seen here in Conjunction 90-2), merging the two materials through a purely tactile, process-driven approach that leaves evidence of the work’s making. By the early 1980s, Tansaekhwa was the first 20th century Korean art movement to be known internationally, seen at exhibitions in Tokyo, Paris, and Taipei. Ha’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at National Museum of Contemporary Art Korea, Gwacheon; Severance Art Space, Seoul; and Mudima Foundation for Contemporary Art, Milan, among others. His work is in the public collections of National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea; Seoul City Art Museum; Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima, among others.