Ha Chong-hyun

October 31, 2023 – January 6, 2024

Opening reception: Thursday, November 2, 5–7pm

BLUM is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new paintings by Ha Chong-hyun. This is Ha’s fifth solo show with the gallery and his second solo presentation at BLUM Tokyo. 

This exhibition presents eight new paintings from his ongoing Conjunction series, each manifesting his recent focus on vertical mark-making, subtle diagonal compositions, and gestural swipes across the canvas. Started in 1974, the Conjunction series explores the material fusion of paint and canvas through the artist’s original bae-ap-bub (back-pressure) method, in which he presses viscous oil paint through the reverse of the canvas and brushes, smears, and scrapes the protruding field of paint on the surface to form abstract compositions that expose the essence of their component materials. 

Through experimentation with the potential of monochrome, Ha Chong-hyun and his peers—Lee Ufan, Park Seo-bo, Kwon Young-woo, Yun Hyong-keun, Chung Sang-hwa, and others—came to be known as the Dansaekhwa movement. The reductive aesthetics of their work belied a greater interest in the methods employed. By variously pushing paint, soaking canvas, dragging pencils, and ripping paper, these pioneers refuted the conventions of ink-painting tradition and questioned the distinctions separating ink painting from oil, painting from sculpture, and object from viewer. 

This solo exhibition at BLUM Tokyo coincides with Ha’s participation in Only the Young: Experimental Art in Korea, 1960s–1970s at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY. This is the first exhibition in North America to explore the work of artists who responded to the rapidly changing, globalizing sociopolitical and material conditions that shaped their country in the aftermath of the Korean War (1950–53). The survey will travel to the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA, in February 2024. 

Ha Chong-hyun was born in Sancheong, South Korea, in 1935, and currently lives and works in Seoul. He has had numerous solo exhibitions, including retrospectives at the Palazzetto Tito (Istituzione Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa), a Collateral Event of the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (2022) and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Gwacheon (2012). Landmark surveys of the last decade include: Beyond the Light of East and West, Korean Cultural Center Los Angeles, CA (2021); Korean Abstract Art: Kim Whanki and Dansaekhwa, Powerlong Museum, Shanghai, China (2018); Rhythm in Monochrome: Korean Abstract Painting at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2017); When Process Becomes Form: Dansaekhwa and Korean Abstraction, Villa Empain – Boghossian Foundation, Brussels, Belgium (2016); and Dansaekhwa, Palazzo Contarini Polignac, Venice, Italy (2015). His paintings are in the collections of leading institutions such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukouka, Japan; Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima, Japan; Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea; M+, Hong Kong, China; Miyagi Museum of Art, Sendai, Japan; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Museum of Modern Art, Toyama, Japan; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, South Korea; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; and the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan. 

Selected Works

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