Deep colors glow in Bang Hai Ja’s paintings

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Deep colors glow in Bang Hai Ja’s paintings


Paris-based Korean artist Bang Hai Ja’s abstract paintings, full of light and energy, are on view at Gallery Hyundai in central Seoul as part of her solo show “Constellations.” [GALLERY HYUNDAI]

Visitors to Gallery Hyundai’s old building in central Seoul may feel an air similar to that of a sanctuary or temple, as the abstract paintings now on view shine like stained-glass windows.

Colored in gold and deep blue, each of the paintings look as if it has a hidden source of light behind it breaking through the abyss, changing the dark surface into a variety of blue-toned waves. As the paintings are so full of energy, viewers might be surprised to find out that they were created by a small, 79-year-old artist.

The artist, Bang Hai Ja, is one of the major Korean abstract art pioneers based in Paris. In this solo exhibition titled “Constellations,” she presents about 40 pieces she has created over the last four years. The Korea JoongAng Daily met her at the gallery on Saturday.

The secret to the illuminated effect and colors that look as if they have come from the depths of the ocean is “[using] natural colors obtained from minerals and plants. And I painted both sides of the paper in many layers, applying the baechae technique,” Bang said.

Baechae, or painting colors on the back of the paper or canvas, is a Korean traditional technique to achieve a deep and delicate color effect. Some of Bang’s paintings hang in the air or are installed horizontally with a mirror on the floor, to show viewers the beauty of the backside of her paintings.

“Life comes from light, joy comes from the love of lives and peace comes from joy,” Bang said. “I want to give viewers light, energy and breaths of nature.”


The exhibition runs through Oct. 25. The gallery is closed on Monday. Go to exit No. 1 of Anguk station, line No. 3, and walk for 10 minutes.

For details, visit or call (02) 2287-3500.
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