Exhibition by six Korean visual artists

It is a rare specialty of the exhibition that the works of six artists are on display at the same time; Hur Kyung-Ae, Lim Dong-Lak, Ilhwa Kim, Suh Jeong Min, Kwang Young Chun, and Sung-Pil Chae are the artists featuring the exhibit; as a result, visitors have the opportunity to explore the tradition seeking tendencies and the modern aesthetic character of contemporary Korean art.




The title of the exhibition – Touch of Korea – refers not only to the fact that contemporary South Korean art has touched, influenced the Western world, but also to the nature of the exhibited artworks, because they also have an effect on one’s tactile sensation. As a matter of fact, these artworks are not two dimensional; they expand into space and almost seem as if they were moving. 

The exhibiting artists, Kwang Young Chun (1944), Ilhwa Kim (1968), Suh Jeong Min (1962), Lim Dong-lak (1954), Hur Kyung-Ae (1977), and Sung-Pil Chae (1972) are of different age groups and sexes, but there is a common denominator in their art: the vivid colours so characteristic of Korea. All of them consciously refer to their Korean heritage: the artisan traditions and the East-Asian philosophical mindset as well. 

Many of them turned towards Korean crafting traditions and materials after having tried out Western artistic techniques. As they concluded, they felt as if they had been playing second fiddle in the international artistic arena. By rediscovering Korean artisan traditions and including the special Korean hanji paper in their art, they finally managed to find their own voice and Korean self-identity, something, which is appreciated in the West as well. Their Korean identity is important for the artists, but, at the same time, they remain up-to-date and modern. 

The painter Hur Kyung-Ae and the hanji paper artists Kwang Young Chun, Ilhwa Kim and Suh Jeong Min all have a similar feature, namely, that their works step out of the pictorial surface into the space, thus they represent an exciting transition between the genres of painting and statue. 

Hur Kyung-Ae scratches the paint back in her paintings, thus it is a process of dismantling and rebuilding.

Hur Kyung-Ae scratches the paint back in her paintings, thus it is a process of dismantling and rebuilding. Artists working with Korean paper involve handmade paper into their artworks. The final works are considered by them collective products, in which the paper used, the ideas written on it, and the colleagues collaborating in the preparatory works all take their part. Furthermore, they also think of the ancestors creating the idea of the hanji paper and the authors or scribes of the written or printed texts appearing on the pieces of paper as co-creators. 

Kwang Young Chun considers hanji paper as nothing else, but the manifestation of Korean mindset. His inspiration is rooted at his childhood memories of the traditional Eastern medical rooms, where medications were in medicine bags with Chinese inscription, hanging from the ceiling. In his art he wraps tiny triangles into inscripted hanji paper, and these are the building blocks of his pictures. By using these blocks, he is able to create diverse and exciting surfaces expanding into the space. 

For Suh Jeong Min the personal touch of pieces of paper, written within and without, and their integration mean the real essence in his art. Although common heritage has lost its importance (as one is unable to read the texts glued into the rolled-up paper cylinders), their presence is still visible on the aesthetic level. 

Ilhwa Kim also rolls the hanji paper, but not as precisely as Suh Jeong Min. The cylinders appearing in her works applied to the paintings are much more organic: The further hanji layers painted by the artist with organic paints are loosely rolled onto a firm square mounting unit. These are referred to by her as cores, and represent the building blocks of her whirling, waving, colourful pictures. 

Lim Dong-Lak applied also computer technology when creating his metal statues, which make a reference to traditional Eastern mindset. He consciously refers to the Central Asian ideas of the “yin-yang” and the “Middle Passage”. 

The paintings of Chae Sung-Pil embody topics like returning to nature and express a world that, although anchoring in history, is simultaneously timeless and universal.

Co-operating partners of the Ybl Buda Creative House are the Korean Cultural Centre (Korean Cultural Day Program) and the Kálmán Makláry Fine Arts.

Have a look at the photos taken during the exhibition and the related programs

This is how we prepared for the ‘Touch of Korea’ exhibition
Watch the video taken during the exhibition and the related programs