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The Art World of Ha Chong-Hyun     2007/07/30
The Art World of Ha Chong-Hyun-Lee Kyung-SungㅣFormer Director of National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea

The art worlc created by Ha Chong-Hyun gives the feeling of being quite different from anybody else's. This feeling derives not only from his artistic excellence but also from the materials that he uses and the skills he demonstrates in using them.

Oil paint on canvas, as we know today, has a relatively short history of 500 years. During that time, various ways of expressing artistic ideas and feelings have been explored.  Therefore, it would not be wrong to say that the history of art is the history of the materials and furthermore the history of expression-techniques.

Looking through Ha's art world, it is simple and cler. Such simplicity and clearness come firstky from the shapes and secondly from the colors. The shapes give the appearance of having been scattered in an uncontrolled fashion and then consolidating themselves to give a certain feeling, with this process og consolidation taking many forms depending on the mood or the state of mind of the viewer at the time, in a truly abstract form.

There can be no set rules when it comes to illustrating human feelings such as happiness and sadness, but many curvy lines in his work seems to symbolize the fluctuation of his strong inner feelings and while straight lines seems to represent the intellectual and willful side of his feelings.

By using his finest skills he is able to implant his feelings on to a base surface which he has purposefully created. It is as if he permanently freezes and captures his feelings and their artistic meaning in his work.

It is said that when the creator completed his creation, he had brought to this world an orderliness before which there had been only a state of confusion. Today a similar phenomenon is to found in Ha's world of art. He may not be the creator of mankind but he certainly is a creator in the field of art.

In Ha's work, no ordinary colors are to be found. His colors are brown and ochre, originating in an amber color, in addition to which he sometimes uses a semi-whitish color. Because of this restriction, his colors resemble those of the earth, lacking in variation. His work reminds one of molten rock erupting from a volcano onto the earth's surface then solidifying to from a crust of colors.

In a way, it may be a coincidence that Ha's work resembles finding orderliness in a state of confusion, but as far sa the colors are concerned his colors are the truly original ones, earthy brown and sky blue.

If brown and blue are the colors which represent the beginning and the end of the universe, strangely enough these are the very colors that Ha so masterfully makes use of in his work.

One might say that Ha's works show the sheer beauty of minerals. He is rejecting and ignoring the so-called beautiful colors that ordinart people might come up with. Instead of using the ordinary brown paint in his work, he replaces it with a muddy ochre manifested in a rough texture, and in doing so he is able to marry two of his most valuable assets in his work, his skills and his feelings.

His sense of shape and sense of color produce works which are never tiring to view and readily touch our hearts, so that we are forever lost in the beauty of his creations.

Ha's art world has reached a stage which is like reliving the entire history of painting. (1994)
 하종현의 예술 세계-에드워드 루시 스미스ㅣ미술 평론가
 하종현의 작품세계-이경성ㅣ전 국립현대미술관장
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