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Geometric Abstraction in Korean Art

  • 2023-11-16 ~ 2024-05-19
  • Gwacheon 1F, Circular Gallery 1,1F, Gallery 1,1F, Gallery 2

Exhibition Overview

Geometric Abstraction in Korean Art
Byon Yeongwon, ‹United Existence 97 Perfume›, 1969, Oil on canvas, 91×116cm, MMCA Collection
Byon Yeongwon, ‹United Existence 97 Perfume›, 1969, Oil on canvas, 91×116cm, MMCA Collection
Cover of「Dansung Weekly」, no. 300, Dansungsa, Feb. 1929
Cover of「Dansung Weekly」, no. 300, Dansungsa, Feb. 1929
Cover of「Che Il Sun (Front Lines)」, Design by Kim Gyutaek, Boseongsa, Nov. 1932
Cover of「Che Il Sun (Front Lines)」, Design by Kim Gyutaek, Boseongsa, Nov. 1932
Yoo Youngkuk, ‹Mountain›, 1970, Oil on canvas, MMCA Collection, ©Yoo Youngkuk Art Foundation
Yoo Youngkuk, ‹Mountain›, 1970, Oil on canvas, MMCA Collection, ©Yoo Youngkuk Art Foundation
Yun Hyongkeun, ‹69-E8›, 1969, Oil on cotton, 165×145cm, MMCA Collection
Yun Hyongkeun, ‹69-E8›, 1969, Oil on cotton, 165×145cm, MMCA Collection
Choi Sangchul, ‹Hot Summer II›, 1968, Oil on canvas, 162×130cm, Collection of the Artist
Choi Sangchul, ‹Hot Summer II›, 1968, Oil on canvas, 162×130cm, Collection of the Artist
Kim Han, ‹Interior 10›, 1968, Oil on canvas, 148×148cm, MMCA Collection
Kim Han, ‹Interior 10›, 1968, Oil on canvas, 148×148cm, MMCA Collection
Han Mook, ‹Crossing of Gilded Rhyme›, 1991, Oil on canvas, 254×202cm, MMCA Collection
Han Mook, ‹Crossing of Gilded Rhyme›, 1991, Oil on canvas, 254×202cm, MMCA Collection

Geometric Abstract art is a style of painting that emphasizes geometric shapes, primary colors, and a flat picture plane. In the West, it emerged through works by Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky, and Kazimir Malevich and was considered a significant trend within modern and contemporary art throughout the twentieth century. Similarly, Geometric Abstraction first appeared in Korea in the 1920s and 1930s and was materialized in different forms at every major juncture in Korean art history. It spread so widely from the late 1960s through the mid-1970s that these years are considered Korea’s Geometric Abstraction period. However, Geometric Abstraction has always been criticized within the country as a mere decorative art with no roots in Korean culture. As a result, it has been somewhat undervalued by Korean art historians.


Geometric Abstraction in Korean Art is organized to trace the history of this style in Korea, particularly from the 1920s through the 1970s. The exhibition is designed to highlight the interfaces within Geometric Abstraction by related fields such as architecture and design beyond the realm of the fine arts and the role Geometric Abstraction played in expanding the scope of Korean art in connection with the changes taking place in the Korean society of the time. Abstract art is often thought of as something unrelated to the outside world or society, but it is in fact very much a product of the times in which it emerged. Geometric Abstraction in South Korea is similarly closely interwoven with the social and historical situation of the era in which it was created. It is hoped that this exhibition will offer an interesting exploration of the social and historical circumstances of South Korea at the time through Geometric Abstract art and reveal the significance and uniqueness of the Korean experience with the movement.

  • Artist
    About 40 Artists including Kim Whanki, Park Seobo, Byon Yeongwon, Suh Seungwon, Yoo Youngkuk, Yun Hyongkeun, Rhee Sangwooc, Rhee Seundja, Choi Myoungyoung, Choi Sangchul, Ha Chonghyun, Han Mook, DownLeit&Osisun
  • Numbers of artworks
    Over 200 artworks and materials

Related Materials

Audio Guide

#101. Part I Overview The 1920s and 30s was an era during which Geometric Abstraction was introduced to Gyeongseong from the West through direct and indirect channels, and their influence was spreading into the fields of art, design, and even literature. Some creators of the time recognized Geometric Abstraction as a source of newness and innovation. It was also a period in which Geometric Abstract art began to be perceived as a hierarchical boundary between the fine arts and design. Gyeongseong was the birthplace of Geometric Abstract art in Korea in the modern era, and intense debates over it took place there.
Part I Overview

101.Part I Overview