“Void in Korean Art”

Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art

Possessing a strong collection of classical Korean art as well as Korean and international contemporary art, it is not surprising that Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art should have attempted to unite the two sides of its activity in a single exhibition. “Void in Korean Art” was a show whose premises were questionable but whose juxtapositions of works from as early as the fourth century through the present were unexpectedly convincing in their suggestion that this fundamental concept has been operative in Korean art from ancient times through modernism to the present.

At the most basic level, “void” in painting refers to nothing other than “unpainted, empty space,” as the exhibition’s curator, Lee Joon, the deputy director of the Leeum, writes in the catalogue. But, of course, much more is implied—all the more so as, philosophically, Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism (all of which left

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