- Hyundai Motor illuminates history of Korean calligraphy as part of a 10-year sponsorship at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
- Hyundai supports worldwide art initiatives this year, including sponsorships at Venice Biennale Korean Pavilion, Tate Modern and MMCA
Beyond Line runs at LACMA – the largest art museum in the western United States – from June 16 through September 29. It explores the role of calligraphy in Korean society by shedding light on the lives and legacies of writers from prehistory through today, a narrative spanning nearly two millennia.
Featuring some 90 works, the event delves into select strata of professionals – royals, scholars, diplomats, monks and artists – who produced calligraphy using paper, stone, ceramic, wood, metal, lacquer, textile and other medium.
By doing so, it brings to a focus the important role writing and calligraphy have played in the East Asian nation, as well as how calligraphy has developed as an art form throughout its intellectual history.
Beyond Line is curated by Dr. Stephen Little, the Florence & Harry Sloan Curator of Chinese Art and Head of the Chinese, Korean, and South & Southeast Asian Art Departments at LACMA, and Dr. Virginia Moon, the Assistant Curator of Korean Art at LACMA.
'Beyond Line: The Art of Korean Writing' is the first comprehensive exhibition to present a critical new scholarship on the Korean history, culture and identity through the lens of calligraphy. This art form is both a conveyer of content and an abstract art of the highest degree of intellectual and artistic refinement. Thanks to our ongoing partnership with Hyundai Motor Company, LACMA is empowered to study and share new areas of Korean scholarship, from historical to contemporary, with the global audience. To have this groundbreaking exhibition presented in Los Angeles is incredibly special since the city is home to the largest Korean population outside Korea.
Due to Korea’s proximity to China, Korean calligraphy has evolved alongside Chinese calligraphy, the latter of which is based on the Chinese ideographic-pictographic writing system known in Korea as Hanja.
The civilizational shift occurred in the mid-15th century with the invention of Korean phonetic script Hangeul under the tutelage of King Sejong. Offering an alternative national writing system to all Koreans, Hangeul increased literacy down to the commoners and served as a rallying point for independence during the Japanese colonial period in the first half of the 20th century.
'Beyond Line: The Art of Korean Writing' marks a key milestone in the history of LACMA and Hyundai’s partnership. We hope that the second phase of our 10-year commitment – set forth with a sophisticated and unique approach to Korean calligraphy – will elicit sincere interest and the expansion of Korean art and culture. We at Hyundai feel deeply responsible for connecting with people around the globe through Korean culture, sharing the foundations for what has and will continue to shape us. Providing distinct experiences and nourishing intuitive thought is the core of our ongoing commitment to the arts, and we are delighted to be able to collaborate with LACMA on this journey.
Beyond Line is the first in a series of exhibitions that are part of “The Hyundai Project: Korean Art Scholarship Initiative,” a key element of LACMA’s ongoing 10-year partnership with Hyundai Motor Company. The project is a global exploration of traditional and contemporary Korean art through research, publication and curation.
In 2015, Hyundai and LACMA announced a significant partnership supporting the museum’s Art + Technology program and The Hyundai Project: Korean Art Scholarship Initiative. Hyundai’s sponsorship is the largest and longest programmatic corporate commitment in LACMA’s history.
The Hyundai Project: Korean Art Scholarship Initiative will support three exhibitions and museum publications, encompassing historic, traditional art as well as contemporary Korean art.
For centuries, calligraphy has been considered the highest art form in Korea, and an essential means of communication. This exhibition looks at the way calligraphy developed and advanced over the course of Korean history, uncovers the role of writing in different social strata and traces the histories of many individual writers.
Beyond Line is organized into the following thematic sections: Prehistory, Tools and Materials, Buddhist Calligraphy, Royal Calligraphy, Yangban Calligraphy, The Advent of Hangeul, The Early Modern Period and Beyond the Modern.
Accompanying the exhibit is an illustrated catalogue with essays by curators and scholars, making it the first published overview of the history of Korean calligraphy in any Western language.
'Beyond Line' brings together the classic Hanja and the native Hangeul in one exhibition spanning from the ancient to the contemporary. LACMA’s exhibition is unique in that its chronology goes past the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910) and into a contemporary context. The historical significance of Korean calligraphy can only be realized by taking the subject all the way to the present to show its development, the historical factors that affected it, the political issues that propelled it, and the current issues that sustain it.
Located on the Pacific Rim, LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, with a collection of nearly 140,000 objects that illuminate 6,000 years of artistic expression across the globe. Committed to showcasing a multitude of art histories, LACMA exhibits and interprets works of art from new and unexpected points of view that are informed by the region’s rich cultural heritage and diverse populations.
With a strong commitment to supporting art communities, Hyundai Motor has initiated partnerships with organizations around the world to offer better access to experiencing art. Major exhibitions supported by Hyundai Motor in 2019 include the sponsorship of the Korean Pavilion at the 58th La Biennale di Venezia (from May); the ongoing collaborative program between Hyundai and Bloomberg media group, “Art+Technology,” on the Bloomberg TV and digital; the fifth Hyundai Commission by Kara Walker at Tate Modern (from October); and an unveiling of video, photo and other works by Park Chan-kyong at MMCA Seoul (from October).
Picture credit for the work on top of this page: Chun Kyungwoo, Light Calligraphy No2, 2004, Korean, chromogenic print. 100x130cm. [collection] (c) Chun Kyungwoo, photo courtesy of the artist