Park Seo-Bo is widely considered one of the leading figures in contemporary Korean art. Credited as being the father of the ‘Dansaekhwa’ movement. Born in 1931 in Yecheon, Gyeongbuk, Park was part of a generation that was deeply affected by the Korean War (1950–53) which divided the country into North and South. After experimenting with Western abstraction, particularly the style of ‘Art Informel’ with which he became familiar during his time in Paris in 1961, Park began to explore a more introspective methodology that had its origins in Taoist and Buddhist philosophy and also in the Korean tradition of calligraphy.
Park is best known for his ‘Ecriture’ series of paintings. First begun in the late 1960s, the ‘Ecriture’ series embrace this spiritual approach and are inextricably linked to notions of time, space and material, concepts which underpin all of the artist’s work. In the early works, Park used repeated pencil lines incised into a still-wet monochromatic painted surface, and the later works expand upon this language through the introduction of hanji, a traditional Korean paper hand-made from mulberry bark, which is adhered to the canvas surface. This development, along with the introduction of colour, enabled an expansive transformation of his practice while continuing the quest for emptiness though reduction.
Park Seo-Bo graduated from the painting department of Hong-Ik University in Seoul in 1954. He became Dean of the University in 1973 and received an Honorary Doctorate from there in 2000. He has been widely lauded throughout his career for championing Korean art and received the Art Society Asia Game Changer Awards in 2018 and Silver Crown Cultural Medal in Korea in 2011. His work has been exhibited internationally, including Château La Coste, France (2021); Langen Foundation, Neuss (2020); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2019); National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), Seoul (2019); Museum of Fine Art, Boston (2018); the Venice Biennale (1988 and 2015); Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2014); Portland Museum of Art, Oregon (2010); Singapore Art Museum (2008); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2007); Tate Liverpool, UK (1992); Brooklyn Museum, New York (1981), and Expo ‘67, Montreal (1967). His work is included in the collections of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington; Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, UAE; the K20, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen, Düsseldorf; M+, Hong Kong; The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate, London, amongst others.
25 February – 1 April 2023
White Cube West Palm Beach
Park Seo-Bo is one of the leading figures in contemporary Korean art, widely acknowledged as the father of the ‘Dansaekhwa’ movement. Encompassing works from the 1970s to this year, this exhibition at White Cube West Palm Beach serves as an introduction to Park’s influential practice, as well as being the first opportunity to see his work in the US since it was shown at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in 2019.
A series of vividly coloured ceramic works made in the past year reveal an artist continuing to innovate into his nineties. In collaboration with a master ceramicist’s studio, Park has worked with wet clay in a similar manner as he has previously when he is manipulating the wet pulp of hanji paper, a medium he uses in other works. For this group of works, successive layers of wet clay slip are pinched and pushed line by line into long, parallel ridges, and, after firing and sanding, contrasting pigments are then carefully applied to the furrows and peaks of the fired surface. This latest evolution of technique and introduction of a new material is true to the energetic, naturalistic materiality and tactility that characterises Dansaekwha.MORE DETAILS