Ouhi Cha

Work Text Inquiry

Ouhi Cha’s work shifts between the calligraphic tradition of her homeland Korea and European modernism. Her pictures are shaped by the element of omission, reduction, and restriction to the symbolic.

Her works play with the basic tension of black and white, other colours, halftones and brown gradations are largely dispensed. The two-dimensional works, drawings on paper and the image objects can be felt haptically, where the materials used are the focus. These materials are mainly wood or canvas, usually painted monochrome white or black – often sewn or folded into handy-sized pieces or brick size. These objects suggest a certain category of finds, the “objets trouvés”. These objects are arranged intuitively by the artist according to her own rules. By doing this, she reduces the picture more than she paints it. What is left is denied further painting. De facto, at first glance, geometry dominates the space in all her works.

The viewer quickly realizes that this geometry was intuitively created by the artist and does not adhere to any mathematical formula. Symbols and characters often appear in the pictures but remain rudimentary and indefinable as Ouhi Cha’s art embodies a symbiosis of constructivism and poetry. Her images have a seductive power, inviting the viewer to explore new and unknown terrain and encouraging speculation. The artist does not give, notwithstanding, many clues to associations but often convey a spirit of optimism through abstract elements such as ships, ropes and sails. Each stroke and materiality conveys a memory of its early function: a path, a blueprint, or a map.

The minimalistic implementation is reminiscent of nomads who are travelling light while in return enjoying great freedom. The art of Ouhi Cha conveys this freedom, it allows the viewer to experience the borderline of spirituality and the tangible, material and imagination. In her work, the moment of movement is experienced and is implied by the choice of titles .

Her works speak to the viewer, using elements such as writing, language, and dialogue as starting points. The clues given to us by the images are not encrypted messages – they appeal to us and raise questions. They convey the feeling that they are directed at someone who remains unknown to us and whom the viewers have to imagine or create themselves.

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