Kwon Young-Woo
(Korean, 1926-2013)
PR Media Coverage
Kwon Young-Woo (1926–2013)
ⓒ Kwon Young-Woo Estate
Image provided by Kukje Gallery

Kwon Young-Woo is internationally renowned for his series of paintings that deal with the medium of paper itself as a crucial formal language. By renouncing the act of painting and instead opting to use his fingers and hands to cut, tear, glue, remove, puncture, and push the paper, Kwon dramatically broadened the scope for the traditional paper material and maximized its abstract formal aesthetic qualities by experimenting with the transformation from two- to three-dimensionality. In the early stages of his artistic career, Kwon explored figurative abstraction using Chinese ink before deciding in 1962 to use hanji (Korean paper) as his primary medium. Beginning in the mid-1990s, Kwon experimented with three-dimensional abstraction by affixing everyday objects such as plastic bottles and spoons onto the canvas, then in turn covering these objects with rice paper. In the 2000s he continued to explore the physicality, formality, and tactility of the paper medium by creating sculptural paintings with hanji on canvas.
Kwon Young-Woo has been featured in multiple solo exhibitions in renowned institutions and galleries including Kukje Gallery, Seoul (2017, 2015), Seoul Museum of Art (2007), the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon (1998), Ho-Am Art Museum, Yongin (1990), and Galérie Jacques Massol, Paris (1976). He has also been widely exhibited in group exhibitions including When Process becomes Form: Dansaekhwa and Korean Abstraction in collaboration with the Boghossian Foundation, Brussels (2016), Dansaekhwa, an official Collateral Event in the 56th Venice Biennale (2015), Dansaekhwa: Korean Monochrome Painting at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon (2012), the 12th Bienal de São Paulo (1973), and the 8th Tokyo Biennale (1965). His works are in many important permanent collections including the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, Seoul Museum of Art, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, the British Museum, London, the Ministry of Culture (France), and the Chase Manhattan Bank, New York.