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Whitehot Magazine

Kim Tschang-Yeul: The Stillness of Water

Tina Kim Gallery

September 19 through October 30, 2021

By ROBERT C. MORGAN, October 2021 

One of the most singular and fascinating exhibitions of paintings in recent months has been the work of the late Korean painter, Kim Tschang-Yeul (1929 – 2021).  Largely known for his pervasive “waterdrop” theme, Kim’s initial reputation began to evolve in Paris, where he chose to live and work in the early 1970s.  As made clear in this exhibition, his paintings were not intended as literal manifestations of water, but as metaphors of the artist’s need to relinquish the concept of the persuasive self. He felt that his paintings should not dwell on expressing the ego. Rather they should relinquish the persistent need to focus on the problems of oneself, whether social or political, and pursue the direction of the mystical.  Through searching in time and space, painters open themselves to the discovery of the mystical, and therefore, discover a way to live in the world with others. 

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