Chun Kyung-ja is a representative female artist and a great star of the Korean art scene. She established her own world of artworks with her unique figurative style, at a time in the modern Korean art scene that was dominated by abstract art. On August 6, 2015, she eternally passed away, to the unknown world that constantly appears in her works.
Wishing that her works were preserved all together to present to the audience forever, in 1998 the artist donated 93 major works which she treasured like her alter ego, as well as the copyright to all the works to the Seoul Metropolitan Government. Memorial Exhibition of
The exhibition is constituted in 4 sections: Life, Journey, Fantasy, and Archive. The ‘Life’ section exhibits Chun Kyung-ja’s iconic self-portraits and images of women, including 'Solitude' (1974), 'The 22nd Page of My Sad Legend' (1977), and 'Since It Has Closed' (1989) with her student works at the Women’s College of Fine Arts in Tokyo and 'Life Form' (1951), which was painted to endure the period of social and personal confusion after the Korean War. In the ‘Journey’ section, artworks labeled as ‘Travel Paintings’ during the 1970s to the 1980s are presented. Most of those works are highly dense landscape paintings and sketches that are based on inspiration from her travels in different countries including Africa, Europe, South America, India and the United States. They manifest different aspects of Chun Kyung-ja, an artist who is usually known to depict the major subject matter of flowers and women. Lastly, the ‘Fantasy’ section presents her manifestation of an unknown world and the afterlife which she imagined. In this section, exhibited works from the 1960s, made with dreamlike colors and strong brush strokes include works such as 'Invocation of the Spirit of the Dead' (1965), 'White Night' (1966), as well as the unfinished work 'Fantasy Journey' (1955). Particularly, in 'Fantasy Journey' (1955), spectators might observe the artist’s intense process of her works in repeatedly erasing and painting over.
Chun Kyung-ja once mentioned that she liked the phrase, “life of incompleteness,” implying this progressive condition, because dreams disappear when reaching their completion. Through this exhibition, we expect the audience to find the opportunity to confront challenge and healing by encountering the dreams and fantasies which she pursued without stop, and her creative will to paint original works all the time even in moments of suffering. (Text: SeMA Seoul)