Schnabel prints show in Seoul

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Schnabel prints show in Seoul


“Piston,” aquatint on velvet. Provided by Watergate Gallery

As other artists dwelled on the cynicism of Pop art and the detachment of Minimalism in the 1970s, Julian Schnabel remained faithful to painting, making it once again contemporary and relevant.

The 39 prints that represent Schnabel’s 25-year-long experiment with different types of printing techniques such as etching, lithography and silkscreen are on display at the Watergate Gallery in southern Seoul.

Schnabel, 58, remains one of the most important and influential artists of his generation, according to Howard Rutkowski, a partner at Fortune Cookie Projects, a curatorial and advisory company with a specific focus on the Far East.

As his work progressed, Schnabel allowed various materials to commingle in his compositions: old tarpaulins and found fabrics, maps, obscure images and X-rays.

He pushed the envelope even further with his “Velvet Series.” The velvet prints presented a technical challenge in that the inked plate had to be allowed to bite deep enough into the fabric without distorting the image. What is amazing about these works is that they have an iridescence, no matter the viewer’s position. The texture of the velvet creates a sense of depth that doesn’t compare to prints made on paper.

Schnabel started his “Map Series” in 1984. Maps in the series appear to have been chosen at random and he has said the maps in the background don’t mean anything.

There are also portraits of people he is acquainted with. A variety of printing techniques, layers of color, etched paper, collages and hand-poured resin all have a place in creating the textured surfaces of the work.

Schnabel is famous not only for his paintings but is also a director of films. His two biopics on the lives of two artists are particularly well known.

In 1996, he wrote and directed the feature film “Basquiat,” which is based on the life of the late Jean-Michel Basquiat, a Haitian-American artist (1960-1988). The film was shown at the 1996 Venice Film Festival. Schnabel’s second film, “Before Night Falls,” based on the life of the late exiled Cuban novelist Reinaldo Arenas, won the Grand Jury Prize and the best actor award for Javier Bardem at the same festival in 2000. For his third film, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” Schnabel was named Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival and at the Golden Globes in 2007.

The exhibition continues until July 10. It will also be presented at Chang Art Gallery in Beijing in September. Admission is free. To reach the gallery, go to Hakdong Station, line No. 7, exit 1. For more information, call (02) 540-3213 or go to

By Limb Jae-un []
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