Park Seo-Bo - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Tuesday, June 21, 2022 | Phillips
  • An artist whose oeuvre is synonymous with Korean contemporary art, Park Seo-Bo is a pioneer, his work perfectly encapsulating the essence of Dansaekhwa — the “monochrome painting” movement originating in South Korea in the 1970s. Most notable of Park’s repertoire is the Ecriture series, composed of enthralling mixed-media canvases that he has been continuously working on since the mid-1960s.


    Executed in 2005, the current work, Ecriture No. 051206, is a mature example of Park’s that showcases Ecriture’s signature aesthetic with a finesse and refinement that the artist has been developing over the years. Ecriture No. 051206 is a magnificent embodiment of Park’s technique, featuring meticulously applied layers of Korean hanji paper – a soft paper made from mulberry bark, in a soothing shade of lavender. From afar the lines appear still and repetitive, but upon closer inspection, the canvas stirs to life. Park fastidiously disrupts each layer of hanji using sticks and other tools, creating a pulsating, rippling relief effect that overwhelms the senses.



    “When I aimlessly and endlessly repeat drawing these lines, I realise that I am emptying myself in a similar way as a monk who chants and beats on his moktak [a wooden percussion instrument]. I believe this is the right way for me to approach art, as a Korean who believes the Eastern philosophy that human and nature is one.”
    —Park Seo-Bo

    There is a meditative quality to Park’s Ecriture pieces; a sense of quietness and tranquillity, derived from his fascination with Eastern philosophy. Having undergone a spiritual awakening after encountering Taoist and Buddhist ideas from ancient Chinese writings, the artist infuses his work with an unmistakable spirituality, highlighted by the ritualistic nature of its creation. And yet, Ecriture simmers with undercurrents of chaos and unrest, perhaps befitting of the post-war context of the series conception. A response to the trauma of the Korean War, the Ecriture works allude to an underlying, unresolved disorder that is an inevitable by-product of times of destruction. At the same time, Park’s Ecriture express a profound desire for peace and the hope that comes with a fresh start.


    Unique in its “Koreanness”, Ecriture eloquently communicates the dichotomy between finding spirituality and peace and battling inner turmoil. Park’s brilliant manipulation of materials and visionary artistic interpretations of philosophy have established his works as the cornerstone of Korean contemporary art.


     Park Seo-bo in New York, 2015
    Image courtesy of Randian
    • Provenance

      Samtuh Gallery, Seoul
      Private Collection
      Acquired from the above by the present owner


Ecriture No. 051206

signed, titled, inscribed and dated 'PARK SEO-BO "ECRITURE NO.051206" 2005 SEOUL S.B Park [in Hanja and English]' on the reverse; further numbered '051206' on the stretcher
mixed media and Korean paper on canvas
130.7 x 195.2 cm. (51 1/2 x 76 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2005.

Full Cataloguing

HK$1,200,000 - 2,200,000 

Sold for HK$3,024,000

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20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 21 June 2022