This special exhibition consists of one hundred works donated in 2014 to National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea by the artist Suh Se Ok (1929~) who is also known by his pseudonym, Sanjeong.
For the year of 1949 when he made his debut was the following year of the establishment of the Government of Republic of Korea, Korea was confronting the task of emerging from the shadow of Japanese imperial rule and reinstate its identity.
He proposed an answer to the question of “identity” while pioneering the new tendency called “abstract ink painting” on the basis of the concept of “literati painting” in the mid-twentieth century.
Suh Se Ok had formed a group consists of young artists in criticism against the issues of the art world at the time such as outdated views, Japanese Style and indictments of the National Art Exhibition, cliques in the art world and held the first exhibition in 1960. He named the group 'Mungnimhoe.' Mungnimhoe was 'the one and only gathering of radical young Korean painting artists in Korea,' and their objective was to break down the old customs and seek for new styles in Korean painting. Such tendencies form the intense path he took in order to build his own art world outside of the customs of the traditional art scene in his cry for 'an escape to all possibilities.'
After his experimental period, he delved into 'line,' which is an extension of 'dots.' A 'line' is a trace of energy born when a dot starts to move. The materials he chose were traditional mulberry paper, ink and traditional brushes.
Thus, Suh Se Ok's works that consists of encounters of strokes like caligraphy, come as 'power' to viewers. The artist had also talked about the ultimate state, in which 'a lightening strikes from the tip of the brush,' to imply that the ultimate objective he wished to show in his painting is 'energy.'
Today's art world in Korea in the 21st century still has a thirst for 'something new,' which is what Suh Seok was searching for during the mid 20th century. Artists are still looking for an answer to what tradition is and what does the identity of Korean painting looks like. The moment a person thinks that he has found 'something new,' it becomes a 'new custom.' In this infinite cycle, Suh Se Ok found the answer by going back to the essence. His life, in which he faced the difficult task of 'line' and challenged the essence of it, has now become a line to form a stroke in history, creating a strong echo to the world.
Through these exhibits and an Video(Do-Ryong), viewers are enabled to understand what Suh has been seeking by unshackling himself from the pre-existing tendencies and an aspect of our “identity” that he has been seeking and we need to seek.
Screening Schedule of Exhibition Related Documentary Endlessness
— MMCA Film and Video
January 12, 2016 (Tue.) - 13:00, 15:00
February 2, 2016 (Tue.) - 13:00, 15:00, 17:00
March 5, 2016 (Sat.) - 15:00, 17:00, 19:00
Part 1 : October 27, 2015 – January 3, 2016
Part 2 : January 12 – April 3, 2016