The Hollow: Yun Suknam Solo Exhibition
05 Nov 2016 – 15 Jan 2017
Hakgojae first opened its doors in Seoul, a financial hub
of Asia, in 1988. Since then, Hakgojae has been leading a
rapidly growing Korean art market, as well as charting
directions on how Korean art ought to be harmonised and developed within the contemporary global culture. In addition,
Hakgojae expanded its presence and potential in the international art scene through the launch of 'Hakgojae Shanghai' in 2013 at the contemporary art district 50 Moganshan Road, Shanghai.
The gallery's name derives from the saying, "to review the old to learn the new" in the Analects of Confucius but gaining knowledge of the past is not necessarily equivalent to studying of historical facts in this case. In fact, the process of learning the history of Korea is an excruciating self-reflection, a country where sentiments from colonialism and division of the country are still very much alive. Nonetheless, to be able to confidently reach out to readily participate in the global cultural flow despite its past struggles is the true philosophy behind the saying, "to review the old to learn the new." This is the very ideology and orientation that makes Hakgojae unique, which brings together the old and the new, and connects the region to the world.
Hakgojae has been continuously showcasing works of precursors, who have reinterpreted traditional Korean philosophy and spirit through the language of modern art. The gallery's typical exhibitions include solo exhibitions of : Paik Nam June, the founder of video art (Shanghai 2014 and Seoul 2015), Lee Ufan, an advocate for Mono-ha (Seoul 2008), Chung Sang-hwa, a foremost artist of Dansaekhwa (Seoul 2007), Yun Suknam, the godmother of the Korean feminism art (Seoul 1997, 2009 and 2013), Ma Liuming, the most compelling performance artist of our time (Sanghai and Seoul 2014), and Jia Youfu (Seoul 2006), and Tian Liming (Seoul 2014), leading artists of modern-day Chinese ink painting. These exhibitions unveiled the artistic depth of masterpieces at their highest, and cemented the gallery's status as a leading exhibitor of historical and modern art in both Korea and China.
Hakgojae's diligent patronage of Korean Minjung art played a large part in attaining significant prestige in Korea. The rise of the Korean economy in the 70's and 80's fuelled a call for democratisation of the country. Minjung art sprang from the cultural uprising against the government, which was under a strict military dictatorship at the time. Subsequently, Hakgojae gallery was the first of its kind to exhibit works of prominent Minjung artists such as Oh Yoon, Shin Hak-Chul, Kang Yo-Bae and Lee Jong-Gu. Looking back from the 21st century, history sheds new light on the Minjung art movement and regards it as part of its legacy and a meaningful accomplishment. Despite many setbacks, Hakgojae's insightful decision to support art that best represented 'Spirit of the Age' certainly made the gallery stand out from its peers.
Many times the gallery has shown a great discernment in its involvement with pioneers at the forefront of modern art, through sharp observation of the changes of the times and trends. Renowned artists who have worked with Hakgojae include: Ma Liuming, Kwon Boo Moon, Song Hyun-Sook, Lee Yong Baek, Lee Sea Hyun, Suh Yongsun, Chung Hyun, Cho Hwan, Hong Kyung-taek, and Jin Meyerson. These artists have been frequently invited to exhibit their works at the both Venice and Gwangju Biennales, and were greeted with a positive reception. Likewise, their works have been displayed at prominent galleries in both Asia and Europe in the past, with plans for more in the near future.
As part of implementing teachings of "to review the old to learn the new," Hakgojae introduced an array of dynamic works by internationally acclaimed artists in Korean and Chinese market. This effort includes exhibitions such as : Minimalism as Landscape (1997), compromised of works by important American minimalists Frank Stella, Donald Judd, Robert Mangold, Richard Tuttle, Agnes Martin, and Robert Ryman; the twentieth opening anniversary exhibition, titled Sensitive System (2008), curated by Lóránd Hegyi, the director of Musée d'Art Moderne de Saint-Etienne Métropole France, featuring works of Lee Ufan, Roman Opalka, Giuseppe Penone, and Günther Uecker; and Unconstraint Creation (2014), curated by Yun CheaGap, the director of Hao Art Museum Shanghai, featuring works of Chung Sang-hwa, Ha Chong Hyun and Lee Ufan. Other notable exhibitions of leading international artists at Hakgojae include Le Corbusier, Jean-Pierre Raynaud and Bernard Frize.
To provide a platform to promote Korean and Chinese artists worldwide and attract accomplished international artists to local exhibitions, Hakgojae has been actively participating in numerous international art fairs. To name a few, Hakgojae has attended the fairs of la crème de la crème, mainly Art Basel Hong Kong since 2008, (when the name was Hong Kong Art Fair back then), ARCO in Spain, ACAF and ART Chicago in the States, Drawing Now Paris in France, Art Beijing in China, and London Art Fair in the United Kingdom. Simultaneously, Hakgojae continues its effort to reach out to wider audiences and to ensure that the gallery is represented at various art fairs with distinctive character across the globe.
Hakgojae has been transformed into an interchange station where past and present crosses, East and West communicates, and regions of the world interconnect. The gallery's distinctive identity of 'bringing two worlds together' is also embedded in its architecture. Housed within the traditional Korean hanok, the main building renovated back in 1995 represents the past whereas a new annex, constructed back in 2008 to celebrate the gallery's twentieth anniversary, boast every characteristic of the 21st century. Meditating lessons from the past at its age-old edifice, and facing pursuit of the present at its cutting-edge complex, the gallery Hakgojae enables us to mentally and physically envision how our tomorrows are to be forged.
Hakgojae has a firm belief in the incomprehensible side of art. Unleashing creativity always went beyond the boundaries of reason and common-sense at the time. Hakgojae is always looking for artists who can deliver fresh foresight and astonishment by virtue of the incomprehensible law. And we desire, more than anything in this world, to be able to contribute insight, and the pleasure of evolution based on artistic creativity by sharing moments of joy and sorrow with artists who will shape the future.