The neighborhood of Samchong-dong in the Bukchon area is the “SoHo” of Seoul, and is nestled in between two palaces, peppered with galleries. It is very charming with alleys full of coffee cafes, restaurants and art. Seoul is wearing two coats, one of a traditional Korean identity and another of modern and global aspirations. Contemporary Korean art successfully straddle both these identities into a new unique voice. Global and environmental issues are being address with a clinical yet spiritual sensibility.
In the Artworld Salon an article called “Meanwhile, in South Korea” by András Szántó:
The most striking fact about Seoul’s galleries is their devotion to local artists. A few plainly commercial spaces exhibit A-list American and European brand names. But the majority of dealers promote Koreans. Kukje and PKM are the largest galleries, familiar to visitors of international art fairs. Several top galleries—notably Hyundai, Gana Art, and Arario—are working on a Gagosianesque scale. Hyundai boasts two locations, each one capable of hosting multiple exhibitions, as well as project spaces for emerging artists.
First I went to the very impressive Art Sonje Space with the exhibition by Kim Beom. He deals with issues of perception that relate to “observing”, and flips ways of visual perception that are regulated by social education. He gives as an opportunity to observe our surroundings and situations through a new dimension.
At the Kumho Museum of Art a group exhibition called “Save the earth” about how recycled material can be translated into art. In two of it rooms a large installation was created by Cheon Dae-Gwang that was a wooden platform creating an alley that leads upwards to nowhere.
I also find the Paper installation of Lee Jang-sub called “Paper Garden” very ethereal.
The next large gallery I visited was Arario Gallery with a two-person exhibition by Wonjong Choi (below: first image) and Heeseop Yoon(below: second image) called “Draw”.
Most galleries showed Korean artists. The only exhibition I saw with international artists was at the Kukje Gallery with French artists Jean- Michel Othoniel (glasswork) and Xavier Veilhan (sculpture).
This exhibition focus on questions related to human existence, and fundamental and reversible questions related to the characteristics, transformations and sublimation of an object.
There is three other art districts in Seoul which I will visit on another day, for now I have enough to digest.