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An image of an artwork by Yun Hyong-keun. It's a monochrome painting of several bars of varying heights.

Daily Helping for February 27th, 2023 – Yun Hyong-keun

Interestingly, I first became aware of the work of Yun Hyong-keun through his biography. Born in Korea during the Japanese occupation, Yun Hyong-keun went on to become one of the most high profile members of the Dansaekhwa art movement of the 70s and 80s. What caught my attention, however, was the sheer number of times he was arrested, detained, imprisoned, tortured, and/or blacklisted throughout his life. He was even condemned to be executed by firing squad during the Korean War, but he managed to escape. And all because he participated in protests against state oppression and corruption throughout his life.

Of course, there’s a lot more to his story, as Yun Hyong-keun lived through some of the most politically fraught times in modern Korean history. But it was an interesting introduction to an artist who I went on to learn is famous for creating incredibly mediative and minimalist works of art. In fact, after reading his bio, I spent some time looking through his oeuvre of artworks, and if I’m being honest, it was hard to reconcile the two in my mind. How could someone who experienced so much strife and violence in his lifetime create such peaceful work? I don’t have an answer for that. But then again, the artistic process rarely makes sense. I’ll just be content to enjoy the art he left us.

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!