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Untitled 72–12–A

Abstracted colors of tan and brown, painted diagonally from top left to lower right.

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  • Abstracted colors of tan and brown, painted diagonally from top left to lower right.




Chung Sang-Hwa
Korean, born 1932

About this artwork

Chung Sang-Hwa’s signature technique entails a repetitive process of applying and then removing paint, so that each work comprises both positive and negative space, with raw canvas as much a part of its structure as the paint itself. Considered representative of the Korean Tansaekhwa (monochrome painting) movement in the 1970s and 1980s, Chung’s works are thus defined not by any single choice of color but instead by how they were made. Indeed, many products of the movement were referred to as pangbop—“methods” — rather than as paintings; the centrality of method or process led Korean art critic Yi Kyung-Sung to describe Tansaekhwa works in terms of drawing with, spreading, bleeding, spilling, and pushing paint, for instance.

Untitled, 72-12-A is one of Chung’s key transitional works, among the first in which he initially employed uniform, allover applications of paint before then peeling and scraping some of it away. The resulting canvas was then covered from edge to edge by two different kinds of marks: those that remain from the first white coats and the similarly sized “strokes” made by pulling paint away. These latter gestures sometimes expose the loosely woven brown canvas support and at other times reveal underlayers of different white paints—some matte, some shiny, some off-white, and some faintly yellow. The large scale of this simultaneously random and exacting composition raises issues of labor, intensity, and intention. At the same time, the very idea of a composition is thrown into question: Chung filled his canvas evenly and without emphasis, often shifting it as he worked in order to ensure a kind of noncompositional unity across the entire field of the painting.


Currently Off View


Contemporary Art


Chung, Sang-Hwa


Untitled 72–12–A

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1972


Acrylic on canvas


162 × 130 cm (63 13/16 × 51 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Through prior purchase from the Mary and Leigh Block Fund

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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