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While enjoying an idyllic lockdown in France, the 83-year-old artist has created perhaps his most important exhibition ever – offering hope to an injured world
Contemporary craft fair Collect was founded by the British Crafts Council in 2004 as a pioneering fair for collectible craft, presenting recent work by living craftsmen, artists and designers (with some pieces created especially for the fair). The latest edition, previewed digitally in collaboration with the global online art platform Artsy, offers a glimpse into the diversity and eclectic richness of today’s craft panorama.
‘Collect has introduced and represented the very best global galleries for contemporary craft to design buyers and collectors for 17 years. Creating opportunity in the disruption of this past year has been so important, ensuring we maintain visibility for this global moment for craft in the cultural calendar. This online version of the fair will provide rich content as well as helping collectors to discover, view and purchase exceptional work from highly talented international artists,’ said the fair director, Isobel Dennis.
Swollen, glistening, and saturated with illusion, the ubiquitous water drop absorbed Kim Tschang-Yeul throughout his career. The Korean artist, who died earlier this year, was faithful to the seemingly mundane subject matter, choosing to depict the dewy orbs repeatedly after an initial painting in 1972 following his relocation to France. Inspired originally by a water-soaked canvas in his studio, Kim nurtured the viscous element in his hyperrealistic paintings created across nearly five decades. In an essay about the artist’s unending commitment, Dr. Cleo Roberts writes:
It is a tendency that seems to unite many of Korea’s avant-garde who took from Art Informel in the early ‘60s, including Ha Chong-Hyun and Park Seo-Bo. In this generation of artists, there is a ritualistic devotion to a chosen form, process, and, at times, colour. One could venture that, in the context of living in a volatile country ravaged by war, the security of immersion in a singular mode was an empowering choice, and may have been a necessary psychological counterpoint.
Whether depicting a singular pendant-shaped drop or canvas strewn with perfectly round bulbs, each of the oil-based works exhibits a deft approach to shadow and texture. The bloated forms appear to bead on the surface and are imbued with a sense of impermanence: if disturbed by even a small movement, they look as if they could burst or run down the surface.