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Park Seo-Bo

Born in Yé-Cheon, Gyeong-Buk, Korea
(1931–2023)

Widely considered one of the leading figures in contemporary Korean art, Park Seo-Bo is 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 was best known for his ‘Ecriture’ series of paintings. Initiated in the late 1960s, the ‘Ecriture’ series embraced this spiritual approach and were inextricably linked to notions of time, space and material, concepts which underpinned 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 expanded 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 through 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 was widely lauded throughout his career for championing Korean art and received Geum-gwan Medal, South Korean Order of Cultural Merit in 2021, 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); MFA Boston, Massachusetts (2018); the Venice Biennale, Italy (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, Canada (1967). His work is included in the collections of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, UAE; K20, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany; M+, Hong Kong; The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Tate, London, amongst others.

Available Artworks

Park Seo-Bo

Ecriture No. 050113, 2005

Price upon request

Park Seo-Bo

Ecriture No. 221205, 2022

Price upon request

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Films

In the Studio

Park Seo-Bo

Park Seo-Bo works at the GIZI Foundation, a non-profit art space in Yeonhui-dong, Seoul, which the artist founded in 2019.

In Focus

Haely Chang on the life and work of Park Seo-Bo

Art historian Haely Chang gives an introduction to the life and work of Park Seo-Bo, discussing the artist's methods, inspiration and his leading role in shaping the Korean Dansaekhwa movement.

Conversations

Park Seo-Bo and Katharine Kostyál on 'ZIGZAG: Ecriture 1983-1992'

Park Seo-Bo and Katharine Kostyál talk about the artist's use of colour, the application of Hanji paper which features in all areas of daily life in Korea and Park's plans to return to the 'zigzag' form.

In the Gallery

Katharine Kostyál on Park Seo-Bo, 'Ecriture (描法) 1967-1981'

Katharine Kostyál discusses the work of Park Seo-Bo and his exhibition at White Cube Mason's Yard in 2016. Kostyál talks about the meditative process of his 'ecriture' paintings and their relationship to Korean painting.

In the Studio

Park Seo-Bo

Park Seo-Bo works at the GIZI Foundation, a non-profit art space in Yeonhui-dong, Seoul, which the artist founded in 2019.


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