South Korean artist Park Seo-Bo is credited with creating Korean modernism by embodying East Asian views of nature and art in his monochrome
paintings. He delves into questions of what painting is, such as “Why paint?” and “How to paint?” in connection with contemporary society, often
modifying his technique and presenting a new model of Korean painting. In his Ecriture series, French for ‘writing’ or ‘inscribing,’ he takes up a way of
painting that is akin to the exercise of writing.
Over the course of his long career, Park has experimented with different materials and techniques. While the initial works from the Ecriture series in
the early 1970s largely featured lines drawn repeatedly in pencil on a painted surface, those presented in this exhibition maintain the formal elements
that appear in his works since the 1980s, when he began using hanji, the traditional handmade paper from Korea.
This recent body of work recalls the linear hanji works from the Ecriture series, but here, he layers wet hanji onto the canvas, repeatedly pushing a
stick along the paper so that parallel lines are arranged over the canvas in a strict order. Unlike the previous pencil Ecriture works completed by
improvisational drawings or the earlier hanji works whose compositions were constructed by pushing out the paper in a zig-zag pattern, now the
canvas is executed in a precisely planned way.
By handmaking the work’s base layer of hanji through repetitive motions, the artist turns it into both a support and a surface, a field where his actions
and the materiality of paper become one. It reveals the trajectory of the artist’s activities, the process of working, and the accumulation of time. This
endless repetition, free from all ideas and thoughts, leads to the self-discipline and solitude which reflect the Korean view that one can only receive
nature fully by emptying the self.