Kim Tschang-Yeul

Biographical Data

Born in Maing San, North Korea, in 1929. He lives and works in Paris since 1969. Kim Tschang-Yeul begins studying calligraphy with his father at the age of four. He studies at Seoul National University (1948-1950) and at the Art Students League in New York (1966-1968). He belongs to the generation of Informal Korean artists.

Brief Chronology

In the early 70’s, Kim Tschang-Yeul does materic abstract painting. In 1965 he begins using the motif that will define his work: the water drop, he will get to be internationally known as “Master Kim the water drop”. He first works with “running” drops, drops that look like the trails left by a tear. But in the 70’s his water drop is isolated on a monochrome surface, as a reflection of the painter’s first gesture. It is a reference to the “Eastern way of thinking, to Buddhism and Taoism, where emptiness is fullness”. Later on, he begins painting his drops using aquarelle, oil paint, or Indian ink; his art becomes hyper realistic, with transparencies and glints. At the end of the 80’s decade, he begins setting his water drops on, or beside, ideograms: parts of the great Chinese poem, Poem of the ten thousand characters, dating from the 6th century and used to teach calligraphy to children (Récurrence collection). He wants his paintings to let people hear “the sound of a droplet falling on a rose petal”. His water drops can also become glass or water sculptures standing on sand, granite, steel, and charcoal bases (Cérémonie, 1993).



Reccurence, 2008, Acrylic and oil on canvas, 162 x 130 cm / 63,7 x 51,1 in.