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Oh Se-Yeol


Oh Se-Yeol’s (오세열) uniqueness has made him one of the leading artists in the Korean art scene. His pictures address the unconscious and the scattered memories we retain from our childhood. His style, whose naïve lines are reminiscent of children’s drawings, take the viewer into an incomparable poetic universe.

He uses a simple pictorial language, in which each symbol is open to interpretation. The small enigmatic objects that attract the eye invite the viewers to delve into their long-lost memories. Oh Se-Yeol encourages us to reconnect with our inner child to find the lost innocence that is so important for us.

In many of his pictures he paints a background with no perspective, applying different layers. Then he incises the surface, revealing numbers between 1 and 10, which continue infinitely. Here and there, he adds small images or incongruous objects, with great poetic simplicity. These figures, stripped of any meaning, are the result of the artist’s automatic and unconscious gestures.  Most of Oh Se-Yeol’s work consists of a quest for a spontaneous creative essence, freed from the aesthetic canons that he sees as dogmatic.

He is particularly interested in working matter: he likes to scratch, press, scrape, or polish the successive layers of paint applied to the canvas. Although he is very attached to Korean art and culture, he does not follow the country’s aesthetic codes, but has invented his own unique style.

The artist, who lived through the Korean War (1950–1953), has contributed to the country’s incredible reconstruction based on the Western model, as well as its economic expansion. Oh Se-Yeol criticises today’s world and its rampant materialism. The isolated figures in his works are symbols of his vision of man in perdition.


Personal exhibitions

2018 - Oh Seyeol Untitled, Arts Centre KUH, Daejeon

2017  - Ilwoo foundation, Seoul, Corée du Sud

- Oh Se-Yeol: Innocent Eyes, Hakgojae Gallery, Seoul, South Korea 

- Haeden Museum of Art, Incheon, South korea

- Oh Se-Yeol: Semiotic Metaphors, Hakgojae Gallery, Seoul, South Korea

2016 – The Layers of Memory, Hakgojae Gallery, Shanghai, China

– Art Issue Projects, Taipei, Taïwan

– The Layers of Memory, Pontone Gallery, London, UK

– The Layers of Memory, Centre de la culture coréenne, Brussels Belgium

– The Layers of Memory, Centre de la culture coréenne, Paris, France

2015 – Oh, Se-Yeol – Recent Artworks, Baudoin Lebon Gallery, Paris, France

2008 – Wellside Gallery, Seoul,South Korea

2000 – Wellside Gallery, Seoul, South Korea

1997 – Gallery Yeh, Seoul, South Korea

1991 – Gallery Yeh, Seoul, South Korea

1987 – Garam Art Gallery, Seoul, South Korea

1986 Jean Gallery, Seoul, South Korea

1984 – Jean Gallery, Seoul, South Korea

1982 – Shinsegae Museum, Seoul, South Korea

1977 – Munwha Gallery, Seoul, South Korea

1975 – Chosun Art Gallery, Seoul, South Korea

Public exhibitions

National Museum of Contemporary Art, Gwacheon,South Korea

National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, South Korea

Leeum Museum , Seoul, South Korea

Daejon art Museum, South Korea

Han-Kook IIbo, Seoul, South Korea

Frederick R. Weisman Foundation, Los Angeles,USA

Selected works
Oh Se-Yeol - Ingenuous Genius