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Press Release

Kim Tschang-Yeul (b. 1929) is arguably the most internationally renowned postwar artist from Asia, known for his signature motif, the water drop.  He is a painter, a poet, and a philosopher with profound knowledge of both Eastern and Western literature. As Kim is from the generation who suffered the most during the Korean War, his works are reflections of this tumultuous historical time. Our presentation provides an in-depth investigation of the development of his signature distinctive style while he was in New York and Paris from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Kim Tschang-Yeul was born in Maengsan, Korea in 1929 and graduated from the College of Fine Art, Seoul National University in 1950. In 1996, Kim was bestowed with the French Order of Arts and Letters followed by the National Order of Cultural Merits of Korea in 2012. The artist participated major international group exhibitions such as Korean Contemporary Painting Exhibition, Paris, France (1971); Salon de Mai, Paris, France (1972-76); Korea: Facet of Contemporary Art, Tokyo Central Museum, Tokyo, Japan (1977); and Korean Drawing Now, The Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA (1981). Kim’s significant retrospectives were held at the Gwangju Museum of Art, Korea (2014); National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan (2012); National Museum of China, Beijing (2005); and Jeu de Paume National Gallery, Paris, France (2004). In honor of the artist, Kim Tschang-Yeul Museum was founded in 2016 in Jeju, Korea, recently showcasing Kim’s solo exhibition, Récurrence, in 2018.

His works can be found among the collections of numerous institutions including the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea; Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Korea; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art, Japan; National Museum of Modern Art, Japan; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, USA; and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA.

This presentation is currently on view at 525 W 21 Street, New York, NY. 


Video: Excerpted from film "L'homme qui peint des gouttes d'eau" by Oan Kim and Brigitte Bouillot, Paraiso Productions and Miru Films

During TEFAF Online, Tina Kim sits down in front of our featured work Waterdrop, 1985 —  a rare painting by Kim Tschang-Yeul, done at the height of his signature style. Tina introduces Kim's composition which was uniquely painted to create the illusion of horizontal and vertical folds on the surface. In the video she examines these lines and asks the viewer to explore their historic significance. 

Watch the video below to find out the answer.

Flipping through the pages of Kim Tschang-Yeul's sketchbook of water drop studies reveals Kim’s careful consideration of his central motif and his poetic experimentation with form and style.

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