Chung Sang-Hwa - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Sunday, June 26, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection
    K Auction, Seoul, 100+ auction, 29 April 2014, lot 2
    Private Collection, Asia
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Born in Korea in 1932, Chung Sang-Hwa is a leading protagonist of the now celebrated 'Dansaekhwa' movement of (chiefly) monochromatic painting that emerged in Korea in the mid 1970’s. Executed in 1985, Untitled 85-7-14, is a wonderful example of Chung’s aesthetic and practice. A pure white monochrome surface reveals, only upon close inspection, an intricate reductive process of painting: a combination of the repetitive application, then removal of white acrylic paint on canvas, forming a network of tiny squares that seem to have been almost cut in to the painted layer. These squares are, of course, the fruits of a most laborious process; a dynamic predicated upon the rituals of Performance and executed as one repeats their mantra to achieve transcendental meditation.

    Like his fellow Dansaekhwa artists, Park Seo-Bo, Ha Chong-Hyun and Lee Ufan, process is privileged over painting or any such suggestion of form. The content of the work resides entirely in the manner of its making. As such, strong connections can be made with the conceptual trajectories of movements as various as Arte Povera, Minimalism and even Land Art, as well as the work of early post-war artists such as Piero Manzoni and Yves Klein. Their determined efforts to make the hand of the artist as invisible as possible, so as to let the object achieve a status outside of the confines of its own production, chimes neatly with the coda of Dansaekhwa. Process for Chung becomes a movement that is repeated so much that the artist loses himself in it; his eye-hand-support coordination becomes almost innate. Thus the artist is able to treat his surface as objectively and impassionately as possible; eschewing ‘emotion’ as much as possible to create a silent, modest surface built out of intense layers of focus, commitment and time.

    As Professor Joan Kee neatly summarises, 'I think Chung approached painting not just as an object, but as a question of time: the labor he invested was a way of making that very clear. It takes a long time to produce a single work. Not only is there repetition, but there are long periods of waiting — waiting for paint to dry, to peel, to chip away, and so forth. His work may be described in some way as an aesthetic of accumulation. There is density of material, but also density of duration.' (Joan Kee in The Korea Times, 'Chung Sang-hwa seeks aesthetics of accumulation', Seoul, 27 March 2016)


Untitled 85-7-14

acrylic on canvas
130.5 x 130.5 cm (51 3/8 x 51 3/8 in.)
Signed, titled and dated in English and Korean 'Chung Sang-Hwa "85-7-14" 1985' on the reverse.

£300,000 - 400,000 

Sold for £449,000

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 27 June 2016