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Dansaekhwa (Korean: 단색화), also known as "Tansaekhwa" refers to a loose grouping of paintings that emerged in Korean painting starting in the mid-1970s, when a group of artists began to push paint, soak canvas, drag pencils, rip paper, and otherwise manipulate the materials of painting. Tansaekhwa means ‘monochrome painting’ in Korean and was used by the critic Lee Yil in 1980 to refer to a group of largely non-figurative paintings painted in neutral hues. Promoted in Seoul, Tokyo, and Paris, Tansaekhwa grew to be the international face of contemporary Korean art and a cornerstone of contemporary Asian art.[1]

Figures associated with Tansaekhwa include: Cho Yong-ik, Chung Chang-Sup, Chung Sang-Hwa, Ha Chonghyun, Heu Hwang, Kim Guiline, Kwon Young-woo, Lee Dong Youb, Lee Ufan, Park Seobo, Suh Seung-Wong, and Yun Hyong-keun.


Lee Ufan had moved to Japan in 1956, where he established himself with the Mono-ha movement in the late 1960s. In the mid-1970s he introduced his Korean peers to the Tokyo art scene. “Five Korean Artists, Five Kinds of White,” a group show held at Tokyo Gallery in May 1975, is often credited as the first major presentation of the works that later became known as Tansaekhwa. The five featured artists were Kwon Young-woo, Lee Dong Youb, Heu Hwang, Suh Seung-won and Park Seobo.

Recent attention[edit]

In 2013, the first extended scholarly discussion of Tansaekhwa, written by Joan Kee, was published by the University of Minnesota Press. It was a finalist for the annual College Art Association Charles Rufus Morey Prize for the most distinguished book in the history of art, the first book on any aspect of modern and contemporary Asian art to receive this designation.[2][3] Starting in 2014, a spate of survey shows in Korea and the United States triggered renewed critical and commercial interest in Dansaekhwa.[4]

Group shows[edit]

  • "Overcoming the Modern – Dansaekhwa: The Korean Monochrome Movement," Alexander Gray and Associates, New York (February 19 – March 29, 2014)
  • “The Art of Dansaekhwa” Kukje Gallery, Seoul (August 28 – October 19, 2014)
  • “From All Sides: Tansaekhwa on Abstraction,” Blum & Poe, Los Angeles (September 13 – November 8, 2014)[5] This show was later included in a roundup of L.A.'s best shows of 2014.[6]
  • “Korean Abstract Painting,” Gallery Hyundai, Seoul (March 25 – April 22, 2015)
  • “Dansaekhwa,” a collateral exhibition of the Venice Biennale, Palazzo Contarini-Polignac, Venice, Italy (May 8 – August 15, 2015)
  • “Dansaekhwa & Minimalism,” Blum & Poe, Los Angeles (January–March 2016); Blum & Poe, New York (May–July 2016)

Since the first of these surveys took place, there have been several solo exhibitions of individual artists:

  • Yun Hyong-keun, (first posthumous solo exhibition), PKM Gallery, Seoul (April 15 – May 17, 2015)
  • Chung Sang-Hwa, Gallery Hyundai, Seoul (July 1 – 30, 2014)
  • Park Seobo, Galerie Perrotin in Paris (November 6 – December 20, 2014)
  • Ha Chonghyun (first US solo exhibition), Blum & Poe, New York (November 7 – December 20, 2014)
  • Park Seobo (first US solo exhibition), Galerie Perrotin, New York (May 28 – July 3, 2015)
  • Chung Chang-Sup (first French solo exhibition), Galerie Perrotin, Paris (June 4 – August 1, 2015)
  • Yun Hyong-keun (first posthumous solo exhibition in the US), Blum & Poe, New York (October 30 – December 23, 2015)
  • Chung Chang-Sup (first US solo exhibition), Galerie Perrotin, New York (November 3 – December 23, 2015)
  • Ha Chonghyun, Kukje Gallery, Seoul (September 17 – October 25, 2015)
  • Lee Ufan, Pace London (September 15 – October 31, 2015)
  • Kwon Young-woo, Kukje Gallery, Seoul (October 30 – December 6, 2015)
  • Ha Chonghyun, Tina Kim Gallery, New York (November 6 – December 12, 2015)
  • Park Seobo (first UK solo exhibition), White Cube, London (January, 2016)
  • Kwon Young-woo (first US solo exhibition), Blum & Poe, New York (May, 2016)
  • Cho Yong-ik, Sungkok Art Museum, Seoul (February 26 - April 24, 2016)


  • Schwabsky, Barry. It’s Time To Stop Ignoring South Korean Abstract Art. (The Nation, 2015.)
  • Lee, Youngwoo, ed. Dansaekhwa. Texts by Youngwoo Lee, Doryun Chong, Jeremy Lewison, Joan Kee, Mika Yoshitake, Melissa Chiu, Alexandra Munroe, Yoon Jin Sup, Tina Kim. (Seoul: Kukje Gallery, 2015)
  • Kee, Joan. From All Sides: Tansaekhwa on Abstraction. (Los Angeles: Blum & Poe, 2015).
  • Yoon Jin Sup, Alexandra Munroe, Sam Bardaouil, and Till Fellrath. The Art of Dansaekhwa. (Seoul: Kukje Gallery, 2014).
  • Liles, Robert. Beyond White: Reading Tansaekhwa Today. ArtAsiaPacific, no.89 (July–August 2014): 76–83.
  • Overcoming the Modern: Dansaekhwa, The Korean Monochrome Movement. Texts by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath. (New York: Alexander Gray Associates, 2014)
  • Kee, Joan. Contemporary Korean Art: Tansakhwa and the Urgency of Method. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013)
  • Morley, Simon. "Dansaekhwa Korean Monochrome Painting". (2013)


[7] [8] [9]

  1. ^ Kee, Joan (2013). Contemporary Korean Art: Tansaekhwa and the Urgency of Method (1 ed.). University of Minnesota Press. p. 384. ISBN 0966350391.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-22. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  3. ^ Lee, Jenny Jungsil (2014). "Contemporary Korean Art: Tansaekhwa and the Urgency of Method". Journal of Korean Studies. 38: 157–160. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  4. ^ Degen, Natasha; Kim, Kibum (2015). "The Koreans at the Top of the Art World". New Yorker. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  5. ^ Pagel, David (2014). "'From All Sides' at *Blum & Poe sticks to basics to magnificent effect". LA Times. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  6. ^ Butler, Connie. "L.A.'s Best, 2014". Art in America. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  7. ^ "A conversation with Joan Kee - Ocula". Ocula.com. 19 October 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Venice Dansaekhwa". Venice-dansaekhwa.com. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  9. ^ Schwabsky, Barry (17 December 2015). "It's Time To Stop Ignoring South Korean Abstract Art". Thenation.com. Retrieved 19 October 2017.