Kim Tschang-Yeul, the influential postwar artist whose groundbreaking water drop paintings heralded new frontiers for abstraction, died on Tuesday at the age of 91. A cause of death was not given. The news of his passing was announced in emails by his two galleries, Tina Kim Gallery and Almine Rech.
Kim’s most well-known paintings, in which droplets of water appear to protrude from monochromatic canvases but are in fact optical illusions, toe a very fine line between abstraction and figuration. These works, begun in the early 1970s, depict various volumes of droplets, ranging from single drops to dozens upon dozens of them. In Kim’s hands, water droplets became entrancing, enlivened elements.
“The act of painting water drops is to dissolve all things within [these], to return to a transparent state of ‘nothingness,’” Kim once said, according to a press release for a 2019 exhibition at Tina Kim Gallery that … Read the rest