An exhibition of the paintings of world renowned Korean painter Bang Hai Ja is currently underway at the Jeju Stone Park 500 Generals Gallery in Jeju City. Called Lumière Née de la Lumière (Light Born From the Light), it runs until April 1, 2012.
Bang, who was born in Seoul in 1937 and now lives in France, belongs to the first generation of Korean abstract painters and is considered one of the most skilled painters in the world. She has lived in France for the last half century and currently teaches Korean calligraphy.
After graduating from college in Korea, Bang moved to France in 1961 to study art, according to a biography on her Web site. In France, art historian and critic Pierre Courthion noticed Bang’s debut and became a supporter and source of encouragement.
▲ Bang Hai Ja, at the Jeju Stone Park 500 Generals Gallery. Photo by Lee Yeo Jun
It was outside of Korea where she discovered her artistic prowess, while holding on to her Korean culture, artistic sensibilities and world view.
Seeing Bang Hai Ja's drawings for the first time in my life, I was astounded. Her drawings were soft and bright. The light-colored parts in the paintings were as if light was seeping through small cracks. It’s as similar to the sun’s rays shining through clouds. They seem to show the sky and sun of the painter's inner world. For me, Bang Hai Ja's paintings were a sweet shock.
▲ Photo by Lee Yeo Jun
Bang has held numerous exhibitions in France and Korea, while also showing her work in Europe and North America. She has also had numerous personal exhibitions. Many writers, critics and historians including Pierre Courthion, Gilber Lascault and Olivier Germain-Thomas have written about her paintings. In 2008, Bang received an award for her work overseas on the 2nd Korean National Day for Artists.
The Korean poet Kim Ji Ha once wrote about Bang, "There was no one in the past who expressed and spoke about the creation of the new world (後天開闢: the idea of Korean traditional religion Dong-Hak, that a new world will come). In that sense, Bang Hai Ja is the new person among us."
▲ Outside the 500 Generals Gallery at Jeju Stone Park. Photo by Lee Yeo Jun
“Bang Hai Ja’s paintings constantly offers us new views of the universe. Her [work] is primarily a look at the cosmos that admires the universe and helps us to admire its multiple beauties,” wrote Gilbert Lascault, in the first monograph of Bang Hai Ja published by the Editions Cercle d’Art in 1997. “Because of their active immobility and unflagging attention, painters (and poets) are probably in the best position to bear witness to the beauty of the cosmos, its harmony and its diversity. Bang Hai Ja is someone who waits and watches.”
The exhibition is a rare opportunity for the people of Jeju to see Bang's precious art work. I hope everyone has the chance to visit the gallery and marvel at the light in the paintings.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
All materials on this site are protected under the Korean Copyright Law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published without the prior consent of Jeju Weekly.
firstname.lastname@example.org | Phone: +82-64-724-7776 Fax: +82-64-724-7796 #505 jeju Venture Maru Bldg,217 Jungangro(Ido-2 dong), Jeju-si, Korea, 690-827
Registration Number: Jeju Da 01093 | Date of Registration: November 20, 2008 | Publisher: Song Jung Hee Copyright ⓒ 2009 All materials on this site are protected under the Korean Copyright Law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published without the prior consent of jeju weekly.com.