The Korea Times

Artist Ha Chong-hyun, 84, introduces his "Conjunction" series at his studio in Goyang, northwest of Seoul, on June 11. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk.

Throughout his career, artist Ha Chong-hyun, 84, has been searching for an answer to a burning question: What are the fundamental elements of a painting?

He has explored various challenges and experiments in his well-known "Conjunction" series, which redefines the notion of conventional wisdom of painting by tackling the canvas from behind, in order to answer the question.

"When people think of painting, whether they are from the East or the West, they immediately relate it to filling up the blank space on canvas or paper. However, I wanted to escape these basics," Ha said during a recent interview with The Korea Times at his studio and showroom in Ilsan, northwest of Seoul.