Kim Tae-ho, a Korean abstract artist known as the "post-monochrome painting", Starting from December 8th at Metaphysical Art Gallery, we present this magical "Internal Rhythm". A well-planned game of color like never before. Kim Sunhee, Director of Busan Museum of Art, curates “Kim Tae Ho: The Aesthetics of Lining” with great care, the solo exhibition of the post-abstract artist from South Korea. At first glance, it is a monochrome that is criss-crossed. The closer to the painting, the more color you'll discover. It turned out to be a semi-stereoscopic work. On canvas, Kim Tae Ho puts on as many as 22 layers of paint before he scratches them over and over to create the colorful grids and the three-dimensional space with irregular beehive, and deep black holes are naturally formed in each space. Those lines in grid, intersecting on another and captivating, highlight the cubic, architectural space as well as the beehive colored bricks on canvas. You shall see what seem to be simple colors looking from afar are actually splendid like spring when looking up close. The repeated process of addition and subtraction is like religious practice; it also makes the ordered image on the canvas look irregular. Just like Yayoi Kusama with her unlimited dots, Kim’s colors, lines and grids show his crazy, stubborn persistence that creates those images with wonderful rhythms as if they are breathing.
The purest is often the most complicated. Seeking changes in simplicity, and finding simplicity in variety. The process of "filling in" and "scrapping" the colors repeatedly, for Kim Tae-ho, is an ascetic practice, has to calm the mind to the realm of egoless, to find the inner rhythm in the abandonment, and to express the rhythm of life in the dense and fascinating. Just like Laozi's philosophy, being and non-being, whether it is the creative process or the idea, Kim Tae Ho's nihility is just for the rich existence.
It's like a mysterious fault, hidden with changing magical colors, "My work is about their result of lots of practice, repeat many times through my life." says Kim Tae Ho. "The irregular picture is composed of regular vertical and horizontal grids. Drawing a line on the canvas, then, rationally and evenly paint colors and stack it into a thick layer. When the blade cuts 22 or more layers beneath the surface, the hidden colors emerge and become lively and beautiful, as if the batons wave by, the music is vented, and they have both internal rhythm and external structure."
Paintings made of those holes resemble ancient Korean door frames, village stone walls, or neatly woven cloths. This process of repeated scratching on the layers of color creates countless cubic rooms on canvas like beehives, when each room is a micro-world with its own energy. This is life, the mysterious door of all the wonderful. attracting the audience to explore. Before we know, we’ve fallen into this boundless enigmatic web of colors in front of us.
In the recent years, monochrome painting and Korean abstract art have been leading the development of modern and contemporary art in Asia. In the series “Internal Rhythm”, Kim Tae Ho explores the composition of geometric images with changes in layers of color and their complex, intense textures. He hides rich colors under the simple surface, and as he applies layers upon layers of paint he scratches them again and again like religious practice. But “this subtracting process intensifies structure”; Kim envisioned a creative process beyond one that relied on visual operation alone. When the blade runs through the thick layers of paint, it also triggers the more vitality and resonance within the rhythms of the colors.
From the 1970s to the middle 1980s, Kim Tae Ho began to reassemble the order of geometric figures with his particular logic. He would take the image of a female body apart with lines and colors, which would look balanced but actually felt enclosed, with each part independent and separate from one another. By the late 1980s, he began to apply Xuan paper, or rice paper, onto the canvas; would he scratch, shove and rub upon the paper to create works with rough, knitted textures that broke ordinary flat visual quality of painting. In the process applying the paint to the paper, Kim developed a series of work on layered paints that he called “Internal Rhythm”. Echoing the myth of Sisyphus, rolling the stone up the mountain only to see it roll down, again and again Kim would endlessly apply layers and layers of paint, only to scratch those strokes and layers off so relentlessly. But some splendid yet captivating, mysterious bosom within would expose. And Kim would then apply yet another layer of simple, primal color, so that all the little grids intersecting one another would compose countless visual spaces like cells, endlessly extending and multiplying.
The most avant-garde usually comes from the most primal. What Kim Tae Ho does seems ridiculous and tedious; however, between the addition and the subtraction, the void and the filled, the colorful and the monochrome, his repeated layering and scratching displays an aesthetic rhythm of moderation and order. Behind “Internal Rhythm” hides the constant reflection of an artist. It’s like mining, where the miner cuts open the surface in order to acquire the glorious reward within. And the outcome is a painting no longer restricted to the flat canvas but closer to sculpture. Kim Tae Ho employs pure colors and, little by little, piles them into a landscape of his mind, with precise arrangement of all the splendid colors. Each primal color represents a projection, a reflection, and an anticipation. The solid, firm form is in stark contrast with the delicate inner rhythm of Kim’s work, and it is exactly this rich contradiction, this hollow yet concrete existence, that speaks to the mystery of life.