Thursday, 25 February 2021

I Forgot To Mention,

a couple of days ago the window cleaner called by,

no ladders nowadays of course, they had a long pole with a sponge attached that had water pumped up to it, anyway I could not help to look at the water droplets as they rolled down the window, and then by shear happenstance I saw the photograph above, Korean artist, Kim Tschang-Yeul who died earlier this year, and was faithful to the seemingly mundane subject matter, choosing to depict the droplets repeatedly after an initial painting in 1972 following his relocation to France, above oil on canvas, 63 1/2 x 51 3/8 inches 1986, image via Christie’s,

above, “Waterdrops” (1979), oil on canvas, 102 x 76 3/4 inches. Image © The Estate of Kim Tschang-Yeul, courtesy of the estate and Almine Rech, photo by Rebecca Fanuele, inspired originally by a water-soaked canvas in his studio, Kim nurtured the viscous element in his hyperrealistic paintings created across nearly five decades. In an essay about the artist’s unending commitment, Dr. Cleo Roberts writes:

'It is a tendency that seems to unite many of Korea’s avant-garde who took from Art Informel in the early ‘60s, including Ha Chong-Hyun and Park Seo-Bo. In this generation of artists, there is a ritualistic devotion to a chosen form, process, and, at times, colour. One could venture that, in the context of living in a volatile country ravaged by war, the security of immersion in a singular mode was an empowering choice, and may have been a necessary psychological counterpoint'

 oil on canvas, 15 by 17 3/4 inches, 2011, image via Sotheby’s  “The act of painting water drops is to dissolve all things within [these], to return to a transparent state of ‘nothingness,’” Kim said in a statement, noting that his desire was to dissolve the ego. “By returning anger, anxiety, fear, and everything else to ‘emptiness,’ we experience peace and contentment.” if you’re in London, you can see the first posthumous show Water Drops, which covers Kim’s entire career and features some of the works shown here, at Almine Rech from March 4 to April 10, 2021. Otherwise, head to Artsy to see a larger collection of the artist’s paintings, I am still amazed by how difficult it is to paint something so simple as a water droplet, and make them look so real.

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