press release

Art Beatus (Vancouver) Consultancy Ltd is very pleased to present new acrylic on canvas works by internationally known Korean artist, Suh Seung-Won, in his second solo exhibition at Art Beatus, Simultaneity II. As one of the early members of the Tansaekhwa (or Dansaekhwa) movement – translated as monochrome painting, Suh the artist and his body of work hold a significant place within this history of modern art.

Tansaekhwa first rose to prominence in the 1970s to become the first internationally recognized modern art movement from Korea. Over the past few years there has been a growing resurgence of international interest in Tansaekhwa, evidenced by a string of exhibitions and auctions around the globe, and the recognition of this movement’s significance in the history of Art as well as its influence and continued relevance in contemporary art. Although Tansaekhwa is not a movement in the sense that it had a manifesto or a formally organized group of artist members with a clear objective, there are a few characteristics of Tansaekhwa. These abstract, non-representational works, as the name suggests, often have a subdued, usually neutral, colour palate. As well, there is a mechanical and performative act of repetition in the painting process, an appearance of simplicity and austerity and an experimental use of materials that lead to the emphasis on the physicality and materiality of the paintings.

The collection of paintings in Simultaneity II is a continuation of Suh Seung-Won’s decades-long Simultaneity series. From the 1970s to the early 1990s, the Simultaneity paintings featured flat planes and outlines of four-sided geometric shapes but since the 1990s, Suh has replaced these hard-edged shapes with painterly, soft-edged “rectangles”. In Suh’s work, repetition is manifested in the painterly forms and layering of paint. The different translucent layers of paint – with the “background” layers sometimes even crossing over the “foreground” rectangles – act as both revealing and concealing agents that draw the viewer in to look closer and deeper in to the work. The elements of repetition and tempered colour palette also produce a sense of meditative focus and presence, another Tansaekhwa trait. Suh’s ostensibly subdued and quiet paintings are surprisingly evocative, leaving one a sensation of an aesthetic experience.

Born in Seoul, Korea in 1941, Suh Seung-Won has been a practising artist for over five decades and has exhibited in a number of key Tansaekhwa exhibitions such as “Five Korean Artists, Five Kinds of White” at the Tokyo Gallery, “École de Seoul” group show in Korea, both took place in 1975, “Korea: Facet of Contemporary Art” at the Tokyo Central Museum of Art in 1983, and “The Latter Half of the 70”: An Aspect” which took place in five different cities in Japan in 1983. In 2000, Suh participated in the Gwangju Biennale in an exhibition called “The Facet of Korean and Japanese Contemporary Art”. More recently, Suh has been included in some high profile exhibitions that highlight the increasing interest in Tansaekhwa such as the LA Art Show in 2015 and a major survey exhibition, “Dansaekhwa: Korean Monochrome Painting” at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Kwacheon, Korea in 2012. Suh also had a group exhibition, “Origin” at Galerie Perrotin in Paris earlier this year with two fellow members of the Origin collective who all later became prominent Tansaekhwa artists.