41
41
Park Seo-Bo
ÉCRITURE NO. 45-75
Estimate
800,0001,200,000
LOT SOLD. 1,212,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
41
Park Seo-Bo
ÉCRITURE NO. 45-75
Estimate
800,0001,200,000
LOT SOLD. 1,212,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
New York

Park Seo-Bo
B. 1931
ÉCRITURE NO. 45-75
signed, titled, dated 1975 and variously inscribed in English and Korean on the reverse
oil and graphite on canvas
51 1/8 by 63 3/4 in. 129.9 by 161.9 cm.
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Provenance

Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Acquired by the present owner from the above

Exhibited

Seoul, National Museum of Contemporary Art, The 3rd Ecole de Seoul, June 1977
Taipei, National Museum of History, Korean Contemporary Painting, September 1977
Seoul, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Park Seobo's Painting: Its Forty Years, October - November 1991
Los Angeles, Blum & Poe, From All Sides: Tansaekhwa on Abstraction, September - November 2014, p. 98, illustrated in color

Catalogue Note

Masterfully fusing monochromatic serenity with an inherently dynamic sense of rhythmic motion, Park Seo-Bo’s arresting masterpiece Écriture No. 45-47 from 1975 embodies both the meditative aura and the expressionistic splendor that has come to define the artist’s remarkable oeuvre. A paradigmatic example of Seo-Bo’s iconic Écriture paintings, the present work is an enduring testament to the astounding visual potency of Dansaekhwa, the unique brand of minimalist abstraction that has firmly established the significance of the Korean avant-garde within the narrative of Contemporary art. As an internationally renowned figurehead for the Dansaekhwa movement, Seo-Bo’s paintings have been exhibited at landmark institutions around the globe, including the Musée d'Art Moderne in France, the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York, the Singapore Art Museum, the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, as well as both the Biennale in Sao Paulo and the Venice Biennale; indeed, as a paradigmatic illustration of the artist’s celebrated practice, the present work alone has been featured in seminal exhibitions of Dansaekhwa at both the National Museum of History in Taipei and the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul.  Across the vast monochromatic vista of Écriture No. 45-47, Seo-Bo’s articulation of a new conception of painting—one that simultaneously evokes the ruminative practice of Korean calligraphic tradition and the radical purity of contemporary minimalism—initiates an unprecedented visual dialogue between East and West, opening both up to an entirely new visual mode.

 Écriture No. 45-47 belongs to Park Seo-Bo’s iconic series of the same name, which the artist began in the late 1960s. French for ‘writing’, Écriture is a pertinent title for this seminal body of work; although scrupulously contained within a palette of fastidious monochrome, the visceral brushstrokes of the artist’s tenacious hand evoke a vivid notion of texture and establish a lively, relief-like surface. Spanning more than four decades, Seo-Bo’s highly influential corpus stands at the very forefront of Korea’s leading post-war movement of Dansaekhwa, which translates into English as ‘monochrome painting,’ a term robustly manifested in the present work. Situated at a turning point in Korea’s post-war, post-colonial landscape, the Dansaekhwa artists sought to redefine the country’s cultural identity; whilst the West experienced the ascension of gestural abstraction in the form of American Abstract Expressionism in the US and its counterpart, European Art Informel, Dansaekhwa artists independently developed a painterly language that would emphasize the physical nature of material and artwork. The early works from the Écriture series comprise a series of line drawings in which pencils or wooden sticks are dragged through wet oil paint, creating a vigorously multidimensional textural surface of rhythmic repetition. Recounting the core tenet of the artist’s practice, critic Oh Kwang-Su describes: "Park took a pencil, repeatedly drawing lines of a particular length. The pencil drawing upon the still wet canvas creates a factor between the tracks where the lines are drawn and the paint that touches those lines creating an inner design echoed throughout the painting." (Oh Kwang-Su, "The Methods and Times of Park Seo-Bo," in Exh. Cat., Beijing, Arario Gallery, Park Seo-Bo, 2007, p. 124) Seo-Bo’s celebrated Écriture corpus, as exemplified in the present work, broadcasts the sublime serenity and exquisite beauty of Dansaekhwa abstraction,  attesting to the visual potency of a tradition that has achieved global significance whilst staying true to the particularities of its cultural origins.

Yielding a profoundly delicate aesthetic, Écriture No. 45-47 reveals the unique locus of the artist’s oeuvre between the traditional visual paradigm of Korean artistic tradition and the gestural and minimalist proclivities of Western Contemporary art. Swooping gracefully across the alabaster picture plane, the soft textural inflections and elongated lines of the Écriture paintings powerfully evoke the esteemed and celebrated Korean tradition of calligraphy, an art form that holds the aesthetic integrity of legible linguistic signs as paramount to the creation of an ocular experience. Park Seo-Bo further locates his practice within the context of Korean tradition by articulating the influence of meditative Taoist and Buddhist philosophy upon  his work, noting: “I want to reduce the idea and emotion in my work, to express my interest in space from the view of nature. Then I want to reduce that – to pure emptiness. This has been an old value that still exists in oriental philosophy where nature and men are one.” (the artist cited in Exh. Cat., London, White Cube, Park Seo-Bo, 2016, n.p.) Conceptually, the artist’s engagement with writing and the endless reverberation of the line embraces a cerebral and minimalistic rationality that is reminiscent of the graphic scribbles of Cy Twombly; similar to Twombly’s famous series of Blackboard paintings, the free-floating movement of Seo-Bo’s Écriture paintings achieve a dreamily abstract form that transposes the spheres of language and writing into metaphysical space. Likewise, the austere and inherent simplicity Seo-Bo’s neutral color palette aesthetically relates to the Western Minimalists, inviting comparison to the tactile and achromatic canvases of Robert Ryman and the early White Paintings of Robert Rauschenberg. Unlike these artists, however, Park Seo-Bo’s exquisitely delicate treatment of surface and the loosely regimented poeticism of his forms forge an entirely non-derivative aesthetic realm that favors judicious peace over unbridled passion.  Considering the Western concept of minimalism in relation to his work, Park Seo-Bo explains that his paintings are in essence “more related to the oriental tradition and its spiritual concept of space. I am more interested in space from the point of view of nature. Even though my paintings may represent an idea about culture, the main focus is always based on nature. In other words, I want to reduce the idea and emotion in my work, to express my interest in space from the view of nature. Then I want to reduce that – to pure emptiness. This has been an old value that still exists in oriental philosophy where nature and men are one” (Park Seo-Bo cited in: Exh. Cat., London, White Cube, Park Seo-Bo, 2016, n.p.) With mesmeric effect, Park Seo-Bo conflates various visual paradigms in the present work: of writing and drawing, of stasis and kinesthesia, of honored tradition and radical innovation. Standing before Écriture No. 45-47, we witness an entrancing tapestry that simultaneously insinuates the panoramic access to vast geological strata, the regularity of a man-made pattern and the symbolic appearance of text, whilst never settling within any of these illusions.

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
New York