• One by One: Ha Chong-Hyun

    September 29 – October 11, 2021

  • Almine Rech is pleased to share Ha Chong-Hyun: Conjunction 19-28, 2019, the ninth installment of One by One, Almine Rech’s series of exclusive online viewing rooms dedicated to extraordinary individual artworks.


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    • Ha Chong-Hyun Conjunction 19-28, 2019 Oil on hemp cloth 180 x 120 cm 70 7/8 x 47 1/4 in
      Ha Chong-Hyun
      Conjunction 19-28, 2019
      Oil on hemp cloth
      180 x 120 cm
      70 7/8 x 47 1/4 in

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  • A prominent member of the Dansaekhwa (“Monochrome Painting”) movement, Ha Chong-Hyun began his practice in the aftermath of the Korean War, using materials he found on the street, such as barbed wire and burlap sacks left over from American food aid.

  • While such materials carried political resonances, Ha has always focused more on material dynamics and physical processes than on symbolic concerns, as when he placed barbed wire on top of cloth in the sun to burn its shadow onto the support, or as when he began meticulously using wooden slats covered in paper to push paint through burlap from the back, creating subtly aleatory textures on the front side. This process formed the foundation for a lifelong series of paintings titled Conjunctions, in which Ha continues to wrestle with color and texture in an endless exploration of monochrome painting.

  • In these paintings, Ha not only pushes paint through fabric from behind, but also works on the front as well, often using a palette knife to apply thick strokes of oil, as seen in Conjunction 19-28, 2019, in which strokes are applied in twos and threes, loosely organized in a grid of sorts. However, the “grid” is inconsistent, as if his gestures defy the very rubric that he himself pressed upon them.

  • The impasto strokes appear bright red, whereas the same pigment pushed through the canvas has become a ruddier shade, due to exposure to flames—another signature technique used by Ha in this series, wherein he carefully sears the painting's surface with a torch. In this manner, he enacts a tension at the level of color to balance the tension at the level of form, which is precisely what continues to make Ha’s work so compelling over the years: the push and pull between order and chaos, and the serenity to be found somewhere in between the two.


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    More on Ha Chong-Hyun


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