The Emergence of Korean MinimalismKorean Minimalism, also known as Dansaekhwa or monochrome painting, emerged as an art movement in the 1970s, following the Korean War. At this time, South Korea was in a state of social and political upheaval and was undergoing rapid industrialization. In this context, a group of painters emerged who sought to create works that reflected their experiences of the world around them. These artists were interested in creating paintings that were meditative, contemplative, and minimalist in style. They rejected the bright, bold colors of the pop art movement that was popular at the time and instead focused on creating works that were subtle and understated.
The Meaning Behind DansaekhwaThere is a deep sense of meaning and intention behind the works of Korean Minimalism. In Korean culture, the color white is associated with mourning and solitude. It is a color that represents emptiness, humility, and a state of pure consciousness. In Dansaekhwa, artists use a limited palette of neutral tones, including white, gray, and black, to create works that evoke a sense of stillness and tranquility. The use of monochrome tones is also intended to draw attention to the texture and surface of the canvas. The artists use techniques such as layering, washing, and scraping to create works in which the physicality of the canvas is as important as the image it portrays.
Techniques Used in Korean MinimalismKorean Minimalism is characterized by a range of techniques that are used to create its distinctive style. These include:
- Layering: The artists paint layer upon layer of paint onto the canvas, building up texture and depth.
- Washing: The artists use watered-down paint to create areas of transparency and lightness.
- Scraping: The artists use a scraper to remove layers of paint, revealing the underlying texture of the canvas.
- Burnishing: The artists use a rubbing tool to smooth and polish the surface of the painting.