We remember the life and legacy of celebrated Korean artist Kim Guiline, who passed away on August 12, at the age of 85. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Kim Guiline graduated from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies with a degree in French in 1960. After moving to France, Kim studied art history at Dijon University and graduated from Ecole Nationale des Beaus-Arts in Paris. He is widely recognized as one of the foundational members of the Dansaekhwa movement that emerged in South Korea during the 1970s. Throughout his 50 year career as an artist, Kim consistently pursued the idea of flatness. While he showed a tendency to objectify pure black and white flat paintings in the 70s, Kim improved flat monochrome works which consist of small squares and egg-shaped dots as basic units within rectangular canvas in the 80s. Reaching the 1990s, Kim used bright primary colors to present works that affirmed the dualistic relationship.
As a whole, Kim Guiline’s practice can be identified by his dedication to the medium of oil paint and the accentuation of color and flatness across all periods of his work. To achieve a matte surface, the artist perfected a technique of using newspaper to absorb the excess oils from the paint. Equally unique was his treatment of layering individual colors on the canvas, rather than pre-mixing his pigments. The accumulation of these layers, upwards of 30 in a single painting, is what achieves the intensity and depth of color that reverberates in his paintings, despite the restrictive palette.
In 2017, Lehmann Maupin hosted the artist's first solo exhibition in the United States. The presentation featured a survey of work that included rarely shown paintings from the 1960s, his well-known black and white paintings from the 1970s, and bright monochrome paintings from the 1980s–2000s.