Song Burnsoo Korea, b. 1943


Song Burnsoo is a leading figure of Korean modernism and a formative member of the Korean avant-garde movement. Spanning over half a century, Song developed an entirely new aesthetic interpretation of Korean painting traditions, contemplating existential themes through a deeply spiritual and formally innovative lens.

From the early stages in his career until the 1970s, his practice was informed by his encounters with social injustice, propelling him to voice himself critically through provocative prints, which borrowed from pop art elements. During his years in Paris, Song started experimenting with tapestry. The works conceived in this early stage of his career earned him popular and critical acclaim. Woven in a sophisticated manner, these works are grounded in and titled after profoundly personal experiences, and widely considered to represent his style. Upon his return from Paris in the mid 1970s, the thorn and its shadow became major motifs in his work. Deriving from his depiction of roses, which frequently appear in his print works, the sharp thorn protruding in all directions became a symbol intrinsically linked with Song’s artistic persona. As he deepened his spiritual reflection, his practice grew alongside his religious contemplation. Individual or clusters of thorns, which appear to emerge from within the canvas, effectively evoke notions of pain and sacrifice, darkness and hope, at once imbuing his paintings with tension and tangibility. In his most recent works, Song extended the symbolic meaning of the thorn from its solitary unit to planets, constellations and clusters, echoing his early, masterful witnessing of the world’s wonders.

Song Burnsoo lives and works in Yongin, Korea. He was a professor at the College of Fine Arts at Hongik University from 1980 to 2008 and a director of Daejeon Museum of Art. He is honorary professor at Hongik University and a director of the Maga Art Museum, which was established in 1998 to support young artists of textile crafts. In 2000, he received the decorated  Order of National Service Merit in Korea, and in 2001 he won the first golden fleece prize on the occasion of the 1000th anniversary of the foundation of the Hungarian State. Along with the large-scale retrospective, <Song Burnsoo_Pantomime of 50 Years> in National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, his work has been featured in exhibitions in Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art (2016), Museum of Fine Arts Budapest (2005), MMCA Korea (2003), Daejeon Museum of Art (2000), Busan Museum of Art (1999), Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum (1987). His work is represented in the collections of MMCA Korea, Seoul Museum of Art, Busan Museum of Art, Daejeon Museum of Art, National Museum of Budapest and H.Q of Korean U.N., Switzerland.


Send me more information on Song Burnsoo

Please fill in the fields marked with an asterisk