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        48-37, Heyrimaeul-gil, Tanhyeon-myeon, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea/  +82 31 949 3272 / 경기도 파주시 탄현면 헤이리 마을길 48-37  

                     T. 031-949-3272 /

WoolGa Choi

(Korean, b.1956)

A Fancy Free Play of the Instinctive Emotion


M, Chunder _CriticArt History, Columbia University



His narrow atelier in an artists' camp or Spring Street is always messy.

The colors used not all but dumped, the canvas of his own invention, paper coffee cups scattered here and there, the vessels of various types used for works... I push open through them to sit down on an smudged Pakistani fudon (folding bed).

Upon reviewing his works to be submitted to 2004 KIAF, I could feel how he had poured his energy into his new paintings at this atelier for the last several years. The paintings drawn on the small boxes he says picked up from the SOHO street. And the works with the colors seemingly pushed into the thick white color.

Upon reviewing his preceding drawings, we know that he drew on a monochrome primarily using the color planes with chalk or oil painting materials or mashed the colors or used the flowing-down colors to express the US-style wild nature intensely. I crouched for a while amid the works which urged me to doubt that they might betray his own image as such.

For the last 5 years, he has attempted frequently to escape from his past world, probably in an effort to participate in the post-modernism dictating the US fine art. He may have wanted to enjoy a sense of liberation from the French atmosphere or the anticipation for tradition and something orthodox.

However, he says he was shocked to hear from a commissioner of a gallery (Chelsea) on the 10th Street that he should present them with the works of his own style. Anyway, his paintings now feature numerous trials and errors he has experienced and experimented.

For his forms or images in 80's and 90's still remain amid configurative or abstract lines. As we can feel from his past paintings, we can find his apparent struggle to graft those various forms exquisitely drawn in his past paintings onto the fancy free scribbles.


Where does the 21st century head for?

And what culture do people want to share?

Now, most of the nations throughout the world have escaped from the dark tunnel of the 20th century. Now, we live in an ultra-informatization age when the news about every accident or event can be heralded just in a few seconds.

People do not want to return to the past dark tunnel painful to them.

So, now we cannot but think about where our paintings head for.

The abstract images fashionable since Tapies have been followed by numerous artists as if they were decent and elegant, and many artists expressing them have been introduced to us. Maybe, the European fine art drives numerous artists into a bedroom decorated colorful at a dead end of lane.

However, the result has been found reversed. Every fine art market has moved to the United States, and European nations, particularly France struggled in vain to recover their fine art markets, and their markets have fallen into a deep quagmire due to the ills of socialism policies.


Fashion. It is a harmony of an age inviting participations beautifully.

Artists participate in the fashion to arrange a ground to share the social culture of their time and at the same time, deliver to the audience their own high mental values and perceptions. Even today's paintings cannot afford to escape from the fashion or probably a harmful genre of culture.

However, how about Choi Woolga's paintings?

In a sense, paintings like his could be found long time ago. Too far from something new or a fashion. In a sense, he loses consciousness to walk alone, murmuring. His paintings are far from being refined. Even a single modern painting technique cannot be found. They look like the scribbles drawn randomly. The lines drawn with crayon or oil painting stick flow randomly, and the crude lines seem to be drawn with a stick like wooden chopstick. They are never something new. We feel that we have ever seen them somewhere.

Then, why do we pay attention to such paintings? As mentioned above, his paintings are the ones that we can find in any age. But they are never relevant to a fashion, while containing a fragrance which everybody may have smelt.

Innumerable tens of thousand images derived from an area which we have forgotten, namely, the origin of our human spirit, may attract him so much that he may be indulged in his works forgetting about shortage of subjects..


Dangerously playful paintings

However, although the images of his world will not be depleted eternally, he must face a danger because he himself is one of the artists using the images. He must fear where his spirit heads for. Since his works are produced depending on temporary conditions and moods, he may fall into a more dangerous quagmire if he should not watch out for himself. And if he should continue to be too deeply indulged in the limited materials, he would probably experience a mannerism like many other artists I know. Time exists in every human material. So, I would like him to use his sense of materials more widely.

A higher barrier of the world paintings stands before him. If he should give vent to his own primitive freedom as long as possible, he would be obliged to drive himself in a world of farther and freer spirit. Just as the soil cannot be dug only with a shovel, so such a long and hard journey to better working conditions can only be driven by the artist himself.


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