At Kang Collection Korean Art's March 2008 Show, Classic Art Inspires Contemporary Painters CONTEMPORARY ART, CLASSIC INSPIRATION: Influences of Buddhist and Literati Art on Contemporary Korean painting, juxtaposes contemporary art by Ik-Joong Kang and Her Suyoung with classic works
News-Antique.com - Feb 29,2008 - (New York, NY, January 28, 2008) Kang Collection Korean Art is pleased to present a new exhibition, Contemporary Art, Classic Inspiration: the Influences of Buddhist and Literati Art in Contemporary Korean Painting. Opening March 14 and running through March 28, this new exhibition juxtaposes traditional Korean Buddhist paintings with the Buddhist-inspired contemporary works of Korean painter/installation artist Ik-Joong Kang (b. 1960); and classic literati landscapes with the contemporary landscapes of Korean ink painter Her Suyoung (b. 1972).
In the exhibition, works from Mr. Kang’s Happy Buddha series adjoin prized Korean Buddhist paintings created by 18th- and 19th-century monks, and the “seven-star deities” Kang mentions in the introduction to his monograph, Ik-Joong Kang, are those in the 18th-19th-century Seven Star Spirits wall painting hanging nearby. Landscapes by Her Suyoung, exhibited alongside 19th-century landscapes by Heo Ryeon, Yun Yong-gu and Yi Han-cheol, underscore the great breadth of literati landscape painting and the Korea’s changing aesthetic values from the Joseon Dynasty to the present.
About Ik-Joong Kang (b. 1960)
Winner of the Special Merit prize at the 1997 Venice Biennale, Ik-Joong Kang (b. 1960) has exhibited in museums and public spaces around the world. Mosaic-like, often colossal, his installations explore community, culture, and human interrelation through the complementary lenses of intimate personal experience and global unity. Notable works by Kang include Amazed World, compiled from 34,000 drawings by children from 135 countries and exhibited at the United Nations from 2001-2002; 8,490 Days of Memory, made almost entirely of chocolate and displayed in his one-man show at the Whitney Museum of American Art; and his “Wall of Waiting,” an enclosed installation near Korea’s DMZ that incorporates 50,000 drawings by South Korean children along one half, and that—still awaiting 50,000 drawings from children in North Korea—remains empty along the other.
Ik-Joong Kang’s works are permeated by childlike wonder and sensual pleasures, and, like those of his close friend Nam June Paik (1932-2006), embrace experimentation and technology: Kang’s Buddha With Lucky Objects incorporates a motion detector that allows viewers to act as shaman, rousing the “lucky” dime-store objects affixed to the wall into a flurry of sound and movement. Yet Kang’s artistic connection to classical Korean art remains strong. Not only was Kang’s great-great-grandfather Kang Sehwang (1713-1791) one of the most influential literati painters and critics of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), and both his grandfathers accomplished artists, but his work reveals a fascination with Buddhism, Korean shamanism, and iconic Korean art forms.
While Mr. Kang’s Buddhist-inspired works also evoke other Asian sources, his Moon Jar paintings are inspired by what is a truly Korean art form. The iconic and massive moon jar, named so for its ample, full-moon shape, is unique to Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) Korea. Made of austere white porcelain, devoid of ornament, and celebrated for its unique natural contours, the moon jar reflects Korea’s Neo-Confucian virtues of purity, clarity, and humility, and self-expression. “Its rounded figure exudes the feeling of cosmic compassion, yet in a very humble and tranquil manner,” Kang explains, describing why