After this three-year experience, Choi is able to control his new type of “painting.” To be specific, the completely flat surface slightly changes. However, it is not that he reached a peak and is descending the other side of the mountain, but that he chose to proceed on the path of the ridgeline. There is no summit in art.
Nevertheless, it is not art, unless it is aimed toward the summit. It is possible that, after reaching one peak, having exhausted one’s talent and energy, one descends the mountain from that point on. Choi’s path since 1982 does not descend from the peak. Not stopping at the peak, he decides to take the path to continue pursuing the horizon for ultimate purity and extremism.
Looking at his path since 1982, in terms of the superficial changes in his planes, in 1982, the plane, in a way, is divided into squares and, in 1983, the horizontal division seen in the Equality series reappears in a new form. And, after 1997 leading up to the present, his plane, in a sense, attempts to synthesize the two.
In his horizontally divided artwork of 1983, for instance, white hanji cut into horizontally long strips are fixed on an entirely black surface (on hanji soaked in black sumi ink). (In Choi’s case, in times of transition or transformation, he attempts to create artwork using sumi ink and hanji instead of a canvas.)
Structurally, in the case of a canvas, the painting surface is covered with black sumi ink and a plane of white hanji is fixed on top of it. However, it should be noted here that the black sumi ink plane and the white hanji plane are appositional and, as one, create a “space” unique to the painting.
The reason that the white hanji plane is stronger is not simply because it is on top, but because it is a continuation of the white plane from his previous “three-year period,” and that is why it is fixed on top. Here, he uses white hanji in place of white paint. Cutting into strips and pasting them is a variation of his previous square divisions.
He uses hanji instead of paint. And, to apply the hanji, a black sumi inked surface became necessary. At the same time, it seems to me that he wanted to reverse what is commonly used as “base” and “image.”
To nullify the structure of a “base and image” and to make it as one—this is his((Dansaekhwa-Korean monochrome painter CHOI MYOUNG YOUNG, Dansaekhwa:abstract paintings of Korea Artist CHOI MYOUNG YOUNG,최명영 화백,최명영 작가,단색화 최명영,단색화:한국추상회화 화가 최명영,모노크롬회화 최명영,단색화가 최명영,韓国単色画家 崔明永,韓国の単色画家 チェイ·ミョンヨン) continued attempt. Therefore, it is not correct to look upon this as a ￩tude. It is yet an attempt in the realm of painting.
△Shigeo Chiba(千葉成夫)/art critic