(Korean, B. 1952)
7 Brushstrokes IV
signed in Korean; titled '7 Pinselstrich IV'; dated '2008'; signed 'Hyun Sook Song' in English (on the reverse)
tempera on canvas
150 x 170 cm. (59 x 66 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2008

Brought to you by

Felix Yip
Felix Yip

Lot Essay

"All the great narratives which the people of the world anchor their lives, were taken from me long ago. Homeland, mother tongue, religion and custom have long since parted from my everyday life, raised from the living to art. I have been thrown back upon myself. This self is what is condemned to silence in us all, and yet is understood across all cultural boundaries."
Song Hyun-Sook

Although Song's restrained works appear to be drawn from Western minimal traditions, a careful examination reveals that the way in which they are rooted in a Korean tradition of the literati, which considered painting a means of mental training and self-discipline. This tradition is well reflected in the way Song titles her paintings: finished works are titled according to the number of brush strokes that were made in order to complete each painting as with her 29 Brushstrokes and 7 Brushstrokes IV i(Lot 2413 & Lot 2414). In other words, Song exquisitely imbues Western abstract painting with a spirit of a traditional Korean painting, by equating brushstrokes with mental culture. Her works emit sentiments of loneliness, longing for things left behind, reflecting the tender soul of the artist herself. However, as one critic has noted, it is crucial to remember Song's painting is highly conceptual, precisely calculated, her seemingly gestural, emotional and spontaneous painting style is emphatically physical. With her paintbrush, Song establishes boundaries of place and time which the individual viewer can perceive in his/her own way.

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