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Kim Tschang-Yeul

Kim Tschang-Yeul

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Kim Tschang-Yeul (b. 1929) is one of the most prolific and influential artists in Post War Korean art history. His formative years were spent learning calligraphy from his grandfather and painting from the Master Lee Quede. A graduate of Seoul National University, Park led the Korean Art Informel movement with his colleagues Park Seobo and Chung Chang Sup. Kim moved to NY in the late 60s to study at the Art Students League of New York where he was exposed to and influenced by the Pop Art movement before eventually settling in Paris after participating in the Avant-Garde Festival with help from Nam June Paik.

Initial experimentations with geometric liquid abstract forms transformed into his trademark water drops which he has pursued for the past fifty years. The water drop motif straddles the ambiguous space between the real and the abstract. While the artist has been recently quoted that “the meaning is meaningless” behind the water drop, the nature of the water drop of having substance but then becoming transparent is a return to emptiness or a return to peace. This notion of meditation and healing has been a recurrent theme in the interpretation of Kim’s works. The constant transient state of water and the state of balance between wet and dry and light and dark can work to soothe emotional trauma. Such as experienced by the artist himself and Korean society during its recent political history marked by colonization, war and displacement. While the inspiration may be personal the cathartic effect is universal. The use of Chinese characters in his work whether explicitly or abstractly can also be an homage to this tradition adding to the spiritual nature of his works. Whether the subject is one drop or many or juxtaposed with water stains, the interpretation and dialogue that the viewer may have with the work provides immense opportunities for contemplation. In this way, the water drop is an illusion that stimulates the canvas and is not a depiction of the actual thing but an indication to an idea.

Turning his attention to the international art world, he submitted his work to the 2nd Paris Biennale in 1961 and the Sao Paulo Biennale in 1965. In 1969, he participated in the Avant-Garde Festival in Paris. He made an actual debut as a painter in Europe during the presentation of his works “Event of Night” in the Salon de Mai in 1972. Ever since, he has continued to present works featuring water drops. In 2004, Kim held a retrospective on his water drop paintings over the past 30 years at the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume.

Kim’s works have been shown at major retrospectives at the Gwangju Museum of Art, Taiwan National Museum of Fine Art, Busan Museum of Art, National Art Museum of China and the Jeu de Puame National Gallery. The public Kim Tschang-Yeul Museum, created in honor of the artist, opened on the island of Jeju, Korea in 2016 ensuring the legacy of the artist.

김창열(b.1929)은 오랜 시간동안 물방울을 그려왔다. 그의 물방울들은 마치 캔버스의 천으로부터 배어 나오는 것처럼 보인다. 그의 페인팅들은 트롱프뢰유 (언뜻 보기에 현실로 착각하게 하는 효과를 가진 그림) 기법을 활용하는데, 이는 이 투명한 물방울들이 금방이라도 떨어져버릴 것 같은 환영을 연출한다. 다른 작업들이 절반 정도만 물방울로 채워지거나 단지 하나의 물방울로 이루어진데에 반해, 몇몇 작품들은 그 전체가 물방울들로 덮여있다. 또 어떤 것들은 그것이 흐르다가 멈춘 모습에 멈춰있지만 다른 것들은 바닥면에 흡수되어지고 있는 중이기도 하다. 이 물방울들은 캔버스를 자극하는 환영인 것이다. 이것은 사실에 기반한 묘사는 아니지만 어떠한 생각을 암시하는 것이다. 1957년 김창열은 박서보, 정창섭과 함께 현대미술가협회를 결성하여 한국에서의 급진적인 앵포르멜 미술 (무정형미술) 운동을 이끌었다.

국제적인 미술 세계로 발돋움하며 그는 그의 작품을 1961년 2회 파리 비엔날레와 1965년 상파울루 비엔날레에서 선보였다. 1969년, 그는 파리의 아방가르드 페스티벌에 참여했다. 그는 1972년 살롱 드 메에서 그의 작품 ‘Event of Night’의 발표 중 유럽에서 페인터로써 실질적인 데뷔를 했다. 이후로 그는 계속해서 물방울과 연관된 작업들을 계속해오고 있다. 2004년 Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume에서 그는 지난 30년 동안의 물방울 회화 작품들을 재조명하는 회고전을 열었다.

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