Modesty is an important virtue for an artist, is it not? Is not the spirit of modesty witnessed in those with inquiring minds actually faith in the potential of their art to expand, that there are still so many areas to explore? Indeed, for Bupkwan, this humble attitude allows his art to be constantly new and fresh and that which must be renewed. Hence, to him, paintings are different when examined closely, though they may look alike at a glance; in other words, they are like variations arising from the gap between sameness and dissimilarity. The interweaving horizontal and vertical lines created from the artist’s repetitive action seem as though they are symbols of similar yet distinct individual entities that constitute the diverse groups of species in this world. If not, then there is no way of explaining all of this repeated, unceasing action. What do they symbolize? Suhwa Kim Whanki (Suhwa was Kim’s penname) once said while making his blue dot paintings during his New York years that he reminds himself of his friends when painting his dots. Likewise, Bupkwan, who sees the universe as the basis of his thinking, may be repeatedly creating horizontal and vertical crossings as he imagines the stars in the night sky. Bupkwan seeks the world of Zen, and he chose painting as his method of ascetic practice; painting has now become his life itself.
“Breaking away from the theory of causal tyranny and seeking the state of spiritual relaxation based on relative relationships is the attitude I believe Bupkwan pursues. There are countless intersecting lines on his paintings. A myriad of lines that overlap horizontally and vertically (+) coexist on the canvas without revealing themselves. The lines painted early on sink to the bottom and new lines are placed over them. As time passes, those lines also become bottom layers on the canvas as new lines are added. The coexistence of these lines creates a world of harmony, and this world continues to repeat itself. Hence, Bupkwan’s paintings are not complete, but rather oriented towards completion.”
– Excerpt from “From Interwoven Horizontal and Vertical Lines to Repetition of Undulating Curves” | Yoon Jin Sup · Art critic