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Korea's favorite painter Park Soo-keun's largest retrospective on at MMCA Deoksugung Palace Updated: 2021-11-25 17:34:26 KST

Every Thursday we look at what cultural events are on during the upcoming weekend.
For this week's suggestions, our culture correspondent Kim Bo-kyoung is in the studio as usual, Bo-kyoung what have you brought us today?

Jung-min, the weather is getting cold and though I enjoy the year-end's atmosphere, another part of me is already waiting for spring to come.
There was a painter who often depicted this emotion -- one of the most beloved Korean painters Park Soo-keun.
He is known to have used a gritty and rugged texture to portray the ordinary lives of those who had to suffer the aftermath of war, and if you take a close look, you can see how he also used barren trees a lot to show gloominess but at the same time hint at the coming spring.
Let me take you on a virtual tour.

A painter who paid careful attention to the lives of the ordinary people as they rebuilt their lives after war.
Park Soo-keun developed his own unique painting technique of multi-layered, thick matiere.
Ever since his childhood, he dreamed of becoming an artist like Millet, but he had to study art on his own as getting a formal art education was an unthinkable luxury.
His lenses spotted people nearby after the Korean War, and that made him "an artist beloved by Koreans."

"Park Soo-keun painted in the 1950s and 60s, and this is when artists were exploring the ways for Korea's modern art to develop after the Korean War. He used the Western tools of oil painting, but always tried to spot Korea's own objects, structure and coloring."

Now there's a chance to delve deeper into his art.
The artist's largest retrospective to date is taking place at MMCA Deoksugung Palace, presenting more than one-hundred-70 oil and watercolor paintings.
More than 30 pieces that have been donated by the late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee have been included, which made Park's oeuvre even more extensive.

"Three women is one of the donated pieces. After the Korean war, lots of men died or became jobless and sick. Women had to be the breadwinners and the painting depicting them either having cigarettes or cupping their chins because they were struggling for sales."

His well-known works featuring a woman pounding grain and children with babies are at the center of the exhibition.
Other masterpieces include those that went overseas after being bought by foreign buyers, such as "Old Folks Chattering" which was bought by a professor at the University of Michigan.

"His unique, thick matiere technique is what first catches visitors' eyes. But if you delve deeper into his art, you will realize how skilled he was in arranging elements in a bold but stable manner."

Barren trees take up the main space -- a bold and daring attempt, but Park makes the structure stable with other elements such as people next to trees.
Leafless branches make the paintings wintry, but as spring comes after the winter, it shows the artist's hope that one day a warm spring would come. (PKG )
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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