Colour-Fullness: From Dansaekhwa to Optical Art
Marking one of its most important exhibitions since its opening, Soluna Fine Art presents Colour-Fullness, a revolutionary exploration of the connections between Dansaekhwa and Op Art. The gallery will exhibit two of the most iconic artists from Korea: Park Seo-Bo and Choi Myoung Young in dialogue with Puerta Roja’s Op Art masters; Carlos Cruz-Diez and Luis Tomasello. Colour-Fullness reveals the paradox of colour by juxtaposing two distinctive approaches to abstraction from the East and West. The show title plays with a double entendre with reference to the Heart Sūtra in Buddhism, the teaching of the Two Truths doctrine where ultimately all phenomena are “sunyata”, empty of an unchanging essence.
Both art genres arouse during the sixties as part of artistic collectives aiming to develop a new path for thought and expression in response to periods of wars and would blossom in the seventies. Both also developed revolutionary aesthetic styles and ‘liberation’ from different forms of traditional strictures. Key to these new artistic expressions was a desire to challenge materiality in order to engage with the viewer. Purity of colour, texture and materials were used as a new form of language distinctive from other abstraction currents.
The Kinetic & Op Art movement revolutionized the understanding of motion in art through either physical movement or the osculation of colours and forms that invited the audience to become an active participant. Playing with perception and optical illusion, artists turned the viewer into an intrinsic part of the work, an accomplice with a pure sensorial and emotional response to works constructed on the basis of scientific research. The artwork in itself becomes an experience of the present.
During the 1970s, Dansaekhwa (literally meaning monochrome in Korean) was formalised as a form of post-war abstract art against a backdrop of socio-political turbulence. Dansaekhwa artists utilised the canvas as the object of rebellion to resist the historical and cultural burden of the Korean War, dictatorship and Westernisation. By perceiving the canvas as a medium for practising self-discipline of body and mind, Dansaekhwa artists’ creation process is an ongoing exercise of attaining spiritual transcendence.
The juxtaposition of the artworks highlights both a historical and visual connection where “colour” becomes a journey of exploration into life. However, it also emphasises the contrast between the experiential and exuberant multi-chrome Op Art works, and the spiritual and meditative undertones from the Dansaekhwa minimalist monochromes.
Prior to the opening reception on 7th March, Soluna Fine Art will present a panel discussion with Adriana Alvarez-Nichol (Founder of Puerta Roja and Co-President of the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association), Yunah Jung (Associate Vice President, Senior Specialist of Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Christie’s) and Rachel Eun Ju Lee (Founder, Creative Director of Soluna Fine Art). The speakers will aim to provide a deeper understanding of both art genres through an open conversation addressing their history and future by highlighting their similarities and differences.