An Ocula conversation with Joan Kee
Joan Kee has written a seminal book entitled Contemporary Korean Art: Tansaekhwa and the Urgency of Method. The book considers Tansaekhwa, one of the most important artistic movements in contemporary art history – yet one that has been significantly over-looked. Tansaekhwa, or Korean monochromatic painting, references a loose grouping of Korean artists who, starting in the mid 1960s, started to manipulate the materials of painting to create mostly large abstract paintings executed in white, black, brown, and other neutral colours. During the 1970s and 80s, works by artists such as Park Seobo, Ha Chonghyun, Kwon Young-woo and Lee Ufan, came to be seen by critics, curators and artists as representing contemporary Korean art, and more widely contemporary Asian art. Kee’s book provides an informative and clear explanation for the context and characteristics that define Tansaekhwa; but equally it encourages further investigation of this intriguing and important facet of art history.