Kim Tschang-Yeul South Korean, 1929-2021


Kim Tschang-Yeul was born in 1929 in what would become North Korea, later leaving for the south to escape the communist regime.


After the Korean war, during which he was profoundly affected by his experiences in a refugee camp and as a police officer, Kim helped found the Korean Informel movement. This movement sought to move away from representational art towards abstraction, a rebellion against the traditional artistic heritage imposed by pre-war Japanese colonial control.


He then emigrated from Korea, first living in New York before finally settling in Paris in 1969. It was here that he began to cultivate the motif which he would focus on for the next five decades - water droplets. Wishing to clean the paint from a canvas, he splashed water on it, and the droplets clinging to the surface of the work provided inspiration for the rest of his career. Kim later described the repetition of this image as bringing him a transcendence and peace from the horrors of the war which still haunted him.


His work is included in the collections of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea, theCentre Pompidou in Paris, the National Museum of Modern Art, Japan, and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, among others.


Kim Tschang-Yeul died in 2021, in Seoul, South Korea.

Available Works