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Frieze Seoul 2023 | Booth A35

[06.09.23 – 09.09.23]


Chou Yu-Cheng


COEX 513, Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu Seoul, South Korea

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Kiang Malingue is pleased to present at the 2023 edition of Frieze Seoul a solo presentation by Chou Yu-Cheng, showcasing latest abstract paintings from the Origami series.

Chou is known in recent years for systematically developing a body of abstract paintings that derives from the Moody series, first made when the pandemic erupted. These abstract compositions — previously incorporated in large-scale mix-media installations such as Chemical Gilding, Keep Calm, Galvanise, Pray, Gradient, Ashes, Manifestation, Unequal, Dissatisfaction, Capitalise, Incense Burner, Survival, Agitation, Hit, Day Light, V — are made by layering meticulously coloured sheets of paper in different forms: Chou first applies colour gradients on paper through carefully controlling the flow of the water-based paint, organising and distributing the scattered particles. He then tries out different compositions before combining and inlaying the delicate components. He describes the colouring process as akin to sedimentation or pollution, where water flow gently washes and consolidates physical impressions. For Chou, the Moody series made in the wake of the global pandemic operates as portraits, capturing the moment when human moods collapse before crises.

Taking the Moody series as a point of departure, Chou Yu-Cheng has created variations such as Water, Colour & Paper and Bibliotheque, and a series of monochrome paintings that aim to recalibrate and expand the artist’s existing system of colour. The remarkable development of the recent Origami series distills the unique abstract language, compiling vibrant compositions that focus on facilitating direct communication with different artistic traditions. The paintings on view, for example, reconsider the tradition of origami or paper-folding, a simple game that transforms flat materials into sculpted, three-dimensional objects. Chou closely examines the plasticity of paper in relation to abstract painting’s illusionistic potentials, producing curvy volumes and depth. Unlike previous series such as Moody and Water, Colour & Paper in which various elements freely float and converge, Origami paintings are firmly governed by gravity and by the implication of a standing ground, suggesting a still-life quality as the artist nimbly plops lightweight, contorted elements into an iridescent pool.

Another artistic tradition at work here is ikebana or kadō, the Japanese art of flower arrangement. Instead of creating animals and figures as traditional origami does, Chou’s recent paintings speak of revealing the nature of the material itself, and the aesthetic of bringing distinct elements together to form a harmonious totality. Origami is therefore also connected with other recent series such as the orderly gridded Bibliotheque — effectively an attempt to chart book shelves with colourful Pantone cards — embedding private feelings and contemplations in shared experiences.