8 Korean Artists You Should Know (Sculptures and Paintings)
As a result of South Korea's rising prosperity and cultural stature, the country is increasingly influential on a global scale.
This is seen in the rising profile of visual arts such as painting and sculpture, as well as the widespread appeal of K-pop. As a matter of fact, the unique approach to creativity employed by Korean artists has garnered them widespread acclaim in the global art world.
Here is a list of eight of the most well-known living Korean artists, including painters and sculptors who have significantly influenced the development of contemporary Korean art in Korea and beyond.
1. Haegue Yang, sculpture
The work of artist Haegue Yang (1971-), who is known for incorporating commonplace materials like Venetian blinds, has gained widespread attention. The combination of Yang's poetic, political, and emotional sensibilities allows him to employ these and other commonplace objects in novel ways.
Incorporating these two elements, Yang creates simple kinetic artworks out of blinds that take the form of horizontal or vertical mazes. Including the United States, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain, China, and Japan, Yang's artwork has been shown in exhibitions around the world.
In addition, she has shown at prestigious venues like the Ludwig Museum in Cologne and the Brisbane Institute of Modern Art.
2. Soyoung Chung, sculpture
Stainless steel, copper, fabric, glass, etc. are only some of the materials that Soyoung Chung (1979-) employs in her installation art. Chung creates one-of-a-kind pieces using a method that involves the "juxtaposition" of the physical space that items take up and the physical space that the earth provides.
Conflicts in various parts of the world have served as a major source of motivation for Chung's artwork. For a group exhibition at London's Delfina Foundation in 2019, she used historic buoys to represent sea territory claimed by both Korea and China in a sculptural installation.
Chung has shown her work at a number of prestigious venues, primarily in the United Kingdom and South Korea.
3. Kim Tschoon-Su, painting
South Korea has produced a number of notable contemporary artists, but Kim Tschoon-Su (1957-) stands out. Kim creates works in the tradition of gestural abstraction, and the predominant and almost exclusive hue in his work is blue. Ultramarine, Blanco y Azul, and Weiss und Blau are only a few examples of the artist's dedication to the color blue since 1990.
His paintings often start off seeming like a plain blue square, but as you go closer, you'll start to see what appears to be water, the sky, or even trees. The Ultramarine series is his most notable body of work since it delves into the artist's fascination with the spectrum of blue. Kim is a professor at Seoul National University right now, and he's already received a bunch of accolades for his work back home.
4. Kim Yong Won, sculpture
Sculptor Kim Yong Won (1968-) explores the relationship between physical absence and the portrayal of emotion. There are several of Won's sculptures on display in prominent Seoul locations like the Dongdaemun History and Culture Park.
His most well-known piece, "Shadow of a Shadow," is a sculpture of a partially-naked lady meant to convey the idea that truth is the absence of emptiness.
Located in Seoul's iconic Gwanghwamun Square, the massive statue of King Sejong "the Great" (1397-1450) is another symbol of Won. Since 2008, Kim has served as president of the Korean Sculptors Association, following his retirement in 2012 as a professor and dean of fine arts at Hongik University.
5. Kim Kyung-Min, sculpture
Artist Kim Kyong Min (1972-) has sculptures on display in a number of Seoul landmarks. Her sculptures, on the other hand, are unlike any others; they depict scenarios that end happily no matter what happens.
The artist depicts her vibrant people going about their days and encouraging the audience to take pleasure in life as it is. It's because of this that the artist's pieces may be found in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, and Japan.
One of her most well-known pieces is a sculpture called "Wonderful Day," in which she examines the small pleasures in life that make the big ones worthwhile. Many East Asian countries have hosted KIM's international exhibitions.
6. Ha Chong-Hyun, painting
In the late 1950s, after graduating from Hongik University, Ha Chong-Hyun (1935-) started painting. Thanks to his contributions to the Dansaekhwa school of monochrome painting, he is now widely regarded as one of Korea's preeminent artists.
The Korean art style known as Dansaehkwa emerged in the 1970s, and its practitioners are known for making minimalist or monochromatic works of art that are informed by the way the artist holds or uses his brush or body. When viewed from a distance, Chong-Hyun's works appear to be nothing more than conventional paintings, yet when viewed up close, the textures within the canvas give the impression that the pieces are alive.
His longest lasting project, Conjunction, began in 1974 and remains one of his most read pieces to this day. Numerous museum collections featuring the artist's work may be found at present in a variety of countries, most notably South Korea, Japan, and the United States.
7. Suh Do-Ho, sculpture
Among the most well-known Korean artists working today is Suh Do-Ho (1962-), whose work is notable for its probing of such themes as geographical location, personal history, and the concept of home.
Using a wide variety of materials, including silk, polyester, and metal, Suh creates elaborate sculptures that challenge traditional ideas of scale and space.
The goal of Suh's plan is to realize spatial flexibility so that the dynamics between isolation, community, and anonymity can be investigated. All throughout London, in the United States, and in Korea, and in several European and American biennials, the artist has displayed his works. And his works can be found in the collections of some of the world's finest museums.
8. Lee Ufan, painting
A South Korean artist named Lee Ufan (1936–) gained notoriety for his paintings featuring a vanishing brush stroke. Despite his primary interest in painting, the artist also makes sculptures and installations.
To appreciate the intellectual underpinnings of Lee Ufan's artwork, it helps to know that the artist spent time in the 1950s studying Zen Buddhism in Japan.
The foundation of Lee Ufan's painting is the artist's keen eye for capturing the complex, often beautiful interplay between the organic and the manmade. His art has been shown in museums all around the world, including his native South Korea, Japan, and France, where Lee has received numerous prizes and honorary positions.
The Korean art scene is rich with a wide range of styles and themes. Korean artists have a bright future ahead of them because to the country's burgeoning economy and cultural scene. Have patience!