South Korean leading auction house, K auction, is hosting its next installment of Hong Kong sale on Sunday, 29 May 2016 at the Hong Kong Grand Hyatt Hotel. After a week of preview at their offices in Seoul, artworks on sale are currently making their way to the Pearl of the Orient. The Hong Kong preview is scheduled to start from 27 May till the day of sale at the same location. As a lyrical continuation of the auction house’s first show at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City earlier this month, this sale will feature, amongst others, works by formative Korean artists of the Dansaekhwa movement.
Chung SangHwa b.1932 Korean, Untitled 06-2-10, 2006, acrylic on canvas 130.3×162.2cm (100), 51.3×63.9inch
The term Dansaekhwa was coined by Korean art critic Lee Yil in 1980 in order to elucidate the phenomenon popularised by artists like Cho Yong-ik, Chung Chang-Sup, Lee Ufan, etc. in the mid-1970s. Literally, dansaekhwa means ‘monochrome painting’. However, this movement largely illustrates and englobes techniques of pushing painting onto soaked canvas, dragging pencils, ripping paper, and other manipulations of the materials in non-figurative painting in neutral hues.
This May sale in Hong Kong looks to further ingrain this all-encompassing, diversely arrayed movement in Korean abstract art into the international market. While at the same time, remind everyone of the ‘originality and excellence of Korean aesthetics’.
Five works by pioneering Korean abstract artist Kim Whanki are included in this sale. These works are all from the late artist’s time in New York, the place in which he would spend his last decade. Works like Untitled (estimated at HKD6,800,000-10,000,000) and I-1964 exemplify Kim’s employment of different shades of blue, creating depths and nuance in the colour – as light as the clear sky and as dark as the black pit. The contrast in tones of this one colour evokes a sense of profoundness in space within the canvas. Both works feature the quintessence of Kim in his New York period with the liberal usage of dots as a motif. While in I-1964 (HKD3,400,00-6,800,000), the mountains, ocean, and trees reminiscent of the landscape in Korea encapsulated within the two moons capture the idea of nostalgic illusion accompanied by the colour blue.
With Winds and From Winds (estimated respectively at HKD1,400,000-2,700,00 and HKD1,700,000-2,700,000) are two of the seven works from Lee UFan’s From Winds, With Winds and Correspondence series that will be offered at the auction. A certain liberty and expressiveness can be witnessed from the two mentioned works, which is extraordinary suggestive from the titles. The allusion to wind suggests the master’s mode of expression – drawing without reservation of control nor thoughts. Earthly sentiments that come and go swiftly as wind.
Lee Ufan, With Winds, 1990
Lee Ufan, From Winds, 1990
Meditation is both a theme and a practice in the Ecriture series of Park SeoBo that will be on sale. Four works from the 1970s series recall a method of drawing lines with a pencil on the oil paint slicked canvas. The act of drawing on slaps of paint is more descriptively Eastern than Western in artistic practice, take the example of Ecriture No.214-85 (estimated at HKD4,100,000-5,500,000). These works are the embodiment of Park’s worldview in complete harmony with Zen meditation ideology of the East. The technique for creation is repetitive, yet through the mechanical movements bring about a resemblance to the rhythm of nature.
Six works offered by Chung SangHwa span over three decades of the influential artist’s active career. The meticulous and painstaking method behind the monochromatic colour of the paintings adds scope and marvel to Chung’s works. At first, the canvas is covered with clay, scored with grids, excavated and filled individually with paint. The paint is then applied on layers, which are peeled off upon drying. The entire canvas is worked in this same manner in repetition. The workmanship shines as each stroke oozes ‘sophistication through impeccable detail’. Each colour usage tells a story in Chung’s life: the blue in Untitled 06-2-10 (estimated at HKD2,600,000-4,100,000) represents the artist’s childhood in the port city of Young-duck, and the white in Untitled 82-7-3 (HKD2,740,000-4,100,000) is the artist’s favourite colour and the representation of Korean culture.
Top-Image: Park SeoBo b.1931 Korean, Ecriture No.214-85 (detail), 1985, oil and pencil on cotton, 75×150cm, 29.5×59.1 inch