A Journey to the Infinite: Yoo Youngkuk

April 20 – November 24, 2024

The Yoo Youngkuk Art Foundation will present an exhibition of works by renowned Korean painter, Yoo Youngkuk (b. 1916; d. 2002), curated by Kim Inhye at the Biennale Arte 2024, marking the artist’s first solo show in Europe.

A Journey to the Infinite: Yoo Youngkuk is a Collateral Event of the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Curated by Kim Inhye is the most significant exhibition to date of Yoo Youngkuk’s work outside of Korea.

The exhibition presents thirty of the artist’s large-scale oil paintings and twenty copper prints, alongside an array of photographs in the historic Fondazione Querini Stampalia, documenting the evolution of one of Korea’s most important artists.

Guided tours of the exhibition:

  • Wednesday, April 17
    1 p.m., with Kim Inhye curator of the exhibition
    3:30 p.m., with Alycia Gaunt critic and art historian
  • Thursday, April 18
    11 a.m., with Alycia Gaunt critic and art historian
    3 p.m., with Alycia Gaunt critic and art historian
  • Friday, April 19
    11 a.m., with Kim Inhye critic and art historian
    3 p.m., with Alycia Gaunt critic and art historian


The 1-hour tours are in English and reserved for those with Biennale accreditation. By reservation at this link.

Yoo Youngkuk was a pioneer of geometric abstract painting who left an indelible mark on the history of art in Korea. The selection of paintings in the forthcoming exhibition, including works never before seen outside of Korea, embody Yoo’s passionate engagement with the distillation of painterly forms as a means of investigating his deeply personal relationship to nature. Seeking to portray the essence of natural elements through abstraction, Yoo rendered three-dimensional land and sea formations as points, lines, planes, and vibrant colours. There will also be documents and ephemera from the Yoo Youngkuk archives, including postcards, photographs, notes, and videos which provide insight into the life and practice of the artist on view in the Fondazione Querini Stampalia’s historic library.

A Journey to the Infinite: Yoo Youngkukwill primarily feature works from the 1960s and 1970s: a pivotal moment in Yoo’s life at which he fully dedicated himself to painting. Working alone in his studio with minimal social interactions, he produced numerous outstanding works. Yoo Youngkuk once stated, “I believe I was still in the learning phase until I turned sixty. After that, I just want to become freer.’ The exhibition will illuminate the stages of this ‘learning phase“: his study of organic and geometric forms, and explorations into colour theory and perspectival placement.

In his art, Yoo Youngkuk integrated traditional Korean aesthetics with modern Western art movements, such as Surrealism and Constructivism, ultimately pioneering avant-garde movements himself, including New Realism, Modern Art Association, Contemporary Artists Exhibition, and New Figures. His art reflects the theme of the 60th International Art Exhibition, ‘Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere,’ curated by Adriano Pedrosa, exploring how Western art was adopted and adapted by countries that experienced colonialism in the twentieth century. In this context, the art of Yoo Youngkuk, who integrated Eastern and Western ideas while navigating the trials of colonisation, independence, and war in modern Korea, presents a very intriguing and insightful subject for discussion.

Yoo drew from personal experience to develop his own notion of the ‘order of nature,’ which was rooted in the Korean perspective of the natural world. He was particularly inspired by the landscapes of his hometown of Uljin, with its towering mountains and deep sea. Yoo Youngkuk viewed nature not as a potential conquest, but as a mysterious and ineffable source of sublimity. This attitude is especially evident in his works from the 1960s and 1970s, which showcase his unparalleled ability to capture the ever-changing beauty of the quintessential ‘mountain’ through various pictorial languages.

Download the press kit

Comunicazione di servizio

Mercoledì 1 maggio le Collezioni sono aperte ai visitatori; è chiusa la Biblioteca.

Service communication

Thursday, April 25, and Wednesday, May 1, the Collections are open to visitors; the Library is closed.