CHOI Byungso (b.1943) employs a unique methodology of transforming substance materiality through the erasure of newspaper content by repetitive and executive mark-making with ballpoint pen and pencil, a process he has continued for over forty years. Choi holds a very special position in Korea’s contemporary art world, for the intellectuality and engagement found within his works fall in line with the monochrome paintings that dominated the Korean art scene in the ‘70s. His participation in major Korean monochrome art exhibitions, including A Facet of Contemporary Korean Art (Tokyo Central Art Museum, 1977), École de Seoul (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon 1976-79) and Korea’s Modern Paintings (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, 2012), brought him to be designated as a member of the monochrome movement, but that is only a fragmentary categorization.


Earlier works, such as an arrangement of iron pins on the floor with one hanging from the ceiling; decaying mackerel within the exhibition space; reading photographs as text, and more, lay their roots in the Korean experimental art movement. Alongside Park Hyun-gi and Lee Kang-so, Choi was a featured artist in 1974’s Experimental Korean Art Exhibition; he also led Daegu Contemporary Art Festival for five years, and belonged to the 35/128 Group, a powerhouse of Korea’s avant-garde movement. In his work Untitled (Bird) (1975) (previously exhibited at ARARIO GALLERY Cheonan), Choi examines the relationship between image and language by listing six words, ‘sky, cloud, wind, birds, flying, meeting,’ beside a National Geographic photo of two birds; this, too, fits well into the context of Korean experimental art.


CHOI Byungso ‘s materials (paper, newspaper, magazines, banknotes, airplane tickets, clothes hangers, makeup samples, etc.) are everyday objects found close at hand. His pens and pencils of choice are more writing utensil than art material. However, unlike other conceptual work emphasizing these materials as objet, Choi’s artwork seeks to produce a new materiality through motions repeated to excess. The artist joined Park Seo-bo, Yoon Hyung-geun, Lee Kang-so, Lee Dong-youb, Chung Sang-hwa, Chung Chang-sup, and Ha Chong-hyun as a representative of Korean monochrome art in Europe’s first Dansaekhwa exhibition, KM9346: Corée-Morbihan 9,346km, at Domaine de Kerguéhennec. His solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Saint- Étienne, France, 2016) and Galerie Maria Lund (Paris, France, 2016) followed with success.