The Best Art Exhibitions in Seoul – 汉城最佳艺术展

Choi Jeong Hwa, ‘Blooming Matrix’
5 September 2018 – 10 February 2019

Choi Jeong Hwa is the fourth artist to be selected for the annual MMCA Hyundai Motor Series to show ambitious new works in the Korean capital. Filling MMCA’s cavernous galleries can be a tall order for most artists, but Choi is no stranger to filling vast spaces, usually employing great quantities of cheap, disposable items found on the streets and at local flea markets.

What greets visitors is certainly a spectacle: 120 pagodas Blooming Flowers (2018) constructed from various objects, such as rubber shoes, chairs and pots from various countries. These are shown alongside towers of Joseon dynasty ceramics and Korean buckwheat pillows. Choi also continues to include in his works, plastic baskets, piggy banks, brooms and other objects typically found in Korean homes, making this installation a cultural hodgepodge.

Stealing the limelight (at least according to Instagram aficionados) is Choi’s enormous outdoor sculpture Dandelion (2018) which was built with 7,000 pieces of household items, including cooking pots and frying pans, which were acquired from Korean homes, as part of a public art project called Gather Together (2018). Community spirit certainly resonates here but equally relevant is the theme of over-consumption and the enduring power of capitalism that fuels Choi’s glorious junk-fest.  


The Best Art Exhibitions in Seoul - 汉城最佳艺术展

Hejum Bä, Butterfly Foldout, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 130 x 162 cm. Courtesy: the artist and HITE Collection, Seoul

HITE Collection
26 October – 1 December 2019

Seoul’s vibrant art scene has been producing a new wave of abstract painters producing wonderfully divergent works, and this is a must-see exhibition to get a sense of that trajectory. The scale of this group show is immense, and brings together 11 artists, under the title ‘Allover’ – a playful reference to Clement Greenberg’s original term ‘all-over picture’ – celebrating both the historic and renewed interests in two-dimensional planes and the physical properties of painting.
The show reveals a wide variety of styles and aesthetic temperaments in abstraction currently. While enigmatic gestural paintings from Jiyoon Koo’s Orange Asphalt (2018) and Hungji Park’s Marine Ghost (2018) delve inwardly, navigating their own senses and memories, Heemin Chung’s On Face (2017–18) and Mirae Kim’s Frank Stella-inspired paintings of sharply defined bright, geometric contours on three-dimensional forms, show us the more extraverted tendencies.  

‘Allover’ also gently reminds us that age is just a number when it comes to painterly innovation. Yeo-Ran Jae, whose career spans more than 30 years, rejects the conventional wisdom of using a paint brush – and the same goes for the vibrant new work of Seung Chan Lee’s 4C57 (2018), which constructs abstract compositions using cut-outs of internet-sourced digital images.


The Best Art Exhibitions in Seoul - 汉城最佳艺术展

Izumi Kato, installation view, Perrotin, Seoul, 2018. Courtesy: the artist and Perrotin, Seoul © Izumi Kato

Izumi Kato
5 October – 18 November

Izumi Kato’s current solo exhibition assembles a group of delightfully dainty creatures, which he has unleashed upon the world since 2016. As an extension of his handmade miniature figurines using wood and soft vinyl, Kato’s latest anthropomorphic sculptures incorporate granite stones – some of which the artist had picked up from the seashores of Hong Kong and Korea. Taking his cue from ancient Shinto beliefs that something as inanimate and mundane as stones can contain spirits, the Japanese artist has treated nature with upmost respect by simply refusing to chisel or grind the organic materials used for his art. More than a dozen of these raw sculptures (all Untitled, 2018) have been delicately painted with cute facial features, limbs and torsos, which appear otherworldly through the child-like animation of the human form.

Kato intricately recreates various figments of his imagination and two bright and zingy portraits of half-human, half-mutant-like creatures with googly eyes stare directly at the viewer, made solely by the artist’s hands. Continuing his exploration of handcraft and embroidery, a pair of delicate stitched together pastel drawings of fictional creatures on Japanese washi paper accompany, in another ‘Untitled’ series (2018). 


The Best Art Exhibitions in Seoul - 汉城最佳艺术展

‘Unclosed Bricks: Crevices of Memory’, 2018, installation view, Arko Art Center, Seoul. Courtesy: Arko Art Center, Seoul

‘Unclosed Bricks: Crevices of Memory’
Arko Art Center
12 October – 2 December

The sound of quaint murmurs resonates across a darkly-lit chamber at the Arko Art Center. These eerie wailing sounds coming from Hyewon Kwon’s audio-video installation, We are Somewhere (2018), represent the emotionally-charged outcries of those people left behind and scarred by the far-reaching impact of gentrification in Seoul.

In ‘Unclosed Bricks: Crevices of Memory’ five other works by Seoul-based artists – including Minae Kim’s styrofoam brick wall structure and Suki Seokyeong Kang’s abundant yet delicate system of grids and units in Jeong, Mat, High (2011–18) – reflect on the immense urban environment where individuals and society collide and interact. Artist-collective kkr+kdk have traversed a defunct industrial neighbourhood in Seongsu-dong to produce a map that brings questions of urban renewal to the fore.

The show also foregrounds a unique history of the Arko Art Center’s quietly subdued red-brick building, which was designed by a maverick Korean architect Swoo-geun Kim (1931–86) in 1979. Once likened to ‘a poem written with light and bricks’, Kim’s charismatic building becomes a source of inspiration for <ub.ark, ub.wp> (2018) the second commissioned piece by kkr+kdk, whose seductive digital prints and photographs encourage us to mull over structural dots, lines and planes of the timber-hued façade.


The Best Art Exhibitions in Seoul - 汉城最佳艺术展

Angel Otero, Piel de Luna, 2018, oil skins on fabric, 269 x 203 x 8 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, and Seoul

Angel Oreto, ‘Piel de Luna’
Lehmann Maupin
1 November – 22 December

It’s becoming clear that Lehmann Maupin is focusing its newly-opened Seoul outpost on bringing some of the finest artists from the New York art scene to Korean shores. That includes the Puerto Rican, Brooklyn-based Angel Oreto. At his solo-exhibition entitled ‘Piel de Luna’ (which translates as surface of the moon in English), Oreto presents a set of his distinctive process-led paintings including Incense and Peppermints (2018) and Melting Gates (2018) which integrate varying elements of time, chance and collage technique of using ‘oil skin’ fragments to meld together ambiguous abstract compositions. These works conceal a treasure trove of his childhood memories and encyclopedic knowledge of paintings by some of the greatest artists ranging from Diego Velázquez to Willem de Kooning.

The real highlight of the show is the larger than life wall piece, Piel de Luna (2018), in which Oreto has meticulously interwoven various pieces of hardened oil paint peeled off from canvases that he had previously worked on. Contrary to some beliefs that paintings are ‘dead’, the artist poses an interesting challenge to the traditional medium by removing paint from the canvas altogether and substituting individual brushstrokes for fragmentary remnants from his previous works. For Oreto, it seems, the possibilities for painting are endless.


The Best Art Exhibitions in Seoul - 汉城最佳艺术展

‘Ungmang’, 2018, installation view, Ilmin Museum of Art, Seoul. Courtesy: Ilmin Museum of Art, Seoul; photograph: Sang-Tae Kim 

Ilmin Museum of Art
7 September – 25 November

Anyone who has visited Seoul in the past few years would no doubt have been amazed by the sheer scale of Korea’s consumer culture. At the Ilmin Museum of Art, the anonymous artist, Sasa[44] offers an interpretation of this nauseating aspect of Korean culture in his latest solo-exhibition entitled ‘Ungmang’. The definition of this word means wreck or ruin in Korean, which the artist further explains as – ‘a state that is so messy as to be unable to control’.

Sasa[44] tries to get hold of such ‘mess’ by obessively organizing collections of more than 4,024 empty bottles, 78 Nike and Adidas sneakers into orderly grid-like arrangements. But there is also plenty of humour involved here too. Sarcastic eye-popping wall texts like Please Don’t Touch (2018) poke fun at the insecurities osciallating through consumer-driven youth culture.

The show, more importantly, opens up to scrutiny details of Sasa[44]’s own consumption. This includes a series of colour-coded charts and line-graphs, entitled the Annual Report 2016 (2017), documenting every single item of food and drink the artist has eaten for several years. Through presenting such overwhelming data of futile information, Sasa[44] provokes us into thinking about the potential effects of our current consumer culture craze.


The Best Art Exhibitions in Seoul - 汉城最佳艺术展

Kang Seung Lee, Garden, 2018, still from three-channel video. Courtesy: the artist and ONE AND J. Gallery, Seoul

Kang Seung Lee, ‘Garden’
ONE AND J. Gallery
22 November – 22 December

Visitors will discover more than just plants and flowers at LA-based Kang Seung Lee’s forthcoming solo exhibition, titled the ‘Garden’, which presents a tantalizing body of new works that underscore themes of sexual identity and queer politics by tracing the lives of Derek Jarman and the Korean writer Joon-Soo Oh, both of whom were influential LGBT activists.

The artist uses seemingly delicate yet labour-intensive media, such as graphite drawings on sheepskin parchment and embroideries to manifest powerfully arresting imageries that recount his personal visits to Derek Jarman’s garden in Dungeness cottage, a place of respite amidst social stigma, independent cinema and sex.

Lee’s culminating works, coming together for the first time in Seoul, include Untitled (Garden Book) (2018) an archival pigment print on Hahnemuhle paper, which contain segments from Jarman’s private sketchbooks. This will be shown alongside a collection of Joon-Soo Oh’s never before seen diaries and poems – published by his best friends. Yet another highly anticipated three-channel video installation will meditate on the artist’s own emotional journey, traversing between the garden at Dungeness Cottage and several places in Seoul often associated with the local gay community.

Main image: Choi Jeong-Hwa, ‘Blooming Matrix’ (detail), 2018, installation view, MMCA SEOUL. Courtesy: the artist and MMCA SEOUL

Yujin Min

Yujin Min is a lecturer and writer based in Seoul. 

Critics’ Guides /

Critic's Guide
Yujin Min
MMCA Seoul
HITE Collection
ARKO Art Center
Lehmann Maupin
Ilmin Museum
One and J

2018年9月5日-2019年2月10日崔正华是第四位被选中参加年度MMCA现代汽车系列的艺术家,以在韩国首都展示雄心勃勃的新作品。填充MMCA海绵状的画廊对于大多数艺术家来说都是一个很高的要求,但是Choi对填充广阔的空间并不陌生,通常使用大量在街上和当地的跳蚤市场找到的廉价的一次性物品。迎接游客的肯定是壮观的景象:120座由各种各样的物体,如橡胶鞋、椅子和来自不同国家的花盆构成的宝塔(2018年)。这些都与朝鲜王朝时期的陶瓷塔和朝鲜荞麦枕头并列。崔还继续在他的作品中包括塑料篮、猪栏、扫帚和其他在韩国家庭中经常发现的物品,使这个装置成为一个文化杂烩。偷走公众视线(至少根据Instagram的狂热爱好者的说法)是Choi的巨型户外雕塑蒲公英(2018),它由7000件家庭用品组成,包括从韩国家庭购买的烹饪锅和煎锅,作为名为Ga的公共艺术项目的一部分。总之(2018)。社区精神当然在这里引起共鸣,但是同样相关的是过度消费和资本主义的持久力量这个主题,它为崔的辉煌的垃圾节提供了燃料。hejum-ba-butter.-foldout_2018_acrylic-on-canvas_130-3x162-2cm1.jpg The Best Art Exhibitions in Seoul - 汉城最佳艺术展Hejm BA,蝴蝶折叠,2018,丙烯酸画布,130×162厘米。礼仪:艺术家和HITE收藏,首尔“阿洛弗”603003brHITE收藏,603003brHITE收藏,2019年10月26日至12月1日,首尔充满活力的艺术场景,已经产生了一批新的抽象画家,他们创作了极其不同的作品,这是一个必须参观的展览。意识到这一轨迹。这个团体展的规模是巨大的,聚集了11位艺术家,题目是“Allover”——一个有趣的参考克莱门特·格林伯格的原有术语“全景画”——庆祝在二维平面和物理特性方面的历史性的和新的兴趣。绘画的WPAP60300 3BR·WPAP60300 3BR展示了目前抽象的各种风格和审美气质。古纪洋的《橙色沥青》(2018)和《洪积公园的海洋幽灵》(2018)的神秘手势画深入人心,探索着自己的感觉和记忆,而钟海敏的《在脸上》(2017-18)和金美儿的弗兰克·斯特拉(Frank Stella)则灵感十足地描绘了明亮的几何图形。三维形态上的轮廓线显示出更加外向的倾向。“Allover”也温和地提醒我们,当谈到绘画创新时,年龄只是一个数字。杨然杰的职业生涯长达30多年,他拒绝使用油漆刷的传统智慧,而李承宪(Seung Chan Lee)的4C57(2018)的充满活力的新作品也是如此,该作品使用网络数字图像的剪辑来构建抽象构图。2.JPG WPA6022602IMG Izumi Kato,安装视图,PrROIN,汉城,2018。礼貌:艺术家和佩罗汀,首尔_Izumi Kato_Izumi Kato
10月5日至11月18日,Izumi Kato目前的个人展览汇集了一群美味可口的生物,自2016年以来,他一直向世界展示这些生物。卡托最新的拟人雕塑包括花岗岩和软质乙烯,他手工制作的微型雕像延伸到了香港和韩国的海边。从古代神道教徒认为石头这种无生命的、平凡的东西可以容纳灵魂的观念中得到启发,这位日本艺术家以至高无上的尊重对待自然,只是拒绝凿或研磨用于他艺术的有机材料。超过12件这些原始雕塑(全部未命名,2018年)都用可爱的面部特征、四肢和躯干精致地绘画,它们通过人类形体的儿童般的动画呈现在世外桃源。加藤巧妙地再现了他想象中的各种虚构,以及两幅半人半突变生物的明亮而闪亮的肖像,它们用谷歌般的眼睛直视着观众,这幅画完全是艺术家的手做的。继续探索手工艺和刺绣,另一部“无题”系列(2018)中,伴随着一对用日本洗衣纸缝制的精致虚构生物的粉彩画。砖:记忆裂缝,2018,安装视图,阿科艺术中心,汉城。礼貌:首尔阿科艺术中心,“未封闭的砖块:记忆的裂缝”,阿科艺术中心603003br,阿科艺术中心603003br,10月12日至12月2日。这些怪诞的哭声来自玄武垣的音像装置《我们在某处》(2018),代表那些被汉城中产阶级化深远影响留下并留下伤痕的人们情绪激动的呼喊。在《未封闭的砖头:记忆的裂缝》中,首尔艺术家的另外五部作品——包括金敏儿的泡沫砖墙结构和康秀姬在琼、马特、高中(2011-18)丰富而微妙的网格和单元系统——反映了巨大的城市环境。在个体与社会碰撞和互动的过程中。艺术家集体kkr+kdk穿越了江苏东一个废弃的工业区,绘制了一幅地图,突出了城市更新的问题。该展览还展示了Arko艺术中心安静压抑的红砖建筑的独特历史,该建筑由特立独行的韩国建筑师Swoo-geun Kim(1931-86)于1979年设计。曾经被比喻为“用光和砖写成的诗”,金正日的富有魅力的建筑成了<ub.ark,ub.wp>(2018)kkr+kdk第二部委托创作的作品的灵感源泉。木材中有大量的木材。ao-lm29095-piel-de-luna-01-hr.jpg The Best Art Exhibitions in Seoul - 汉城最佳艺术展 Angel Otero,Piel de Luna,2018,织物上的油皮,269×203×8cm。礼貌:艺术家和Lehmann Maupin,纽约,香港,汉城天使安哥拉,“Piel de Luna”WPAP60300 3BR Lehmann Maupin WPA60300 3BR 11月1日-12月22日,很明显,Lehmann Maupin正在关注其新开设的汉城前哨带来一些来自纽约艺术界的优秀艺术家到韩国海岸。这包括波多黎各,布鲁克林的安吉洛托。在奥雷托的名为“月球皮埃尔·德·卢娜”的个人展览会上,他展出了一套独特的以工艺为主导的绘画作品,包括《香与薄荷》(2018)和《熔炉门》(2018),它们融合了时间、机会和拼贴技术的不同元素。使用“油皮”碎片将模糊的抽象成分融合在一起。这些作品隐藏了他童年记忆的宝库,以及从迭戈·韦拉兹克斯到威廉·德·孔宁等一些伟大艺术家对绘画的广博知识。这次展览真正的亮点是比真人墙更大的作品,皮埃尔·德·卢娜(Piel de Luna,2018),其中奥雷托精心地交织着从画布上剥落的各种硬化油漆。与一些认为绘画已经“死亡”的观点相反,艺术家通过完全从画布上移除油漆,用单个笔触代替他先前作品中的残缺部分,对传统媒体提出了有趣的挑战。对于Oreto来说,绘画的可能性似乎是无止境的。ungmang_install-view_1f.jpg The Best Art Exhibitions in Seoul - 汉城最佳艺术展'Ungmang',2018,安装视图,首尔Ilmin艺术博物馆。礼仪:首尔伊尔明美术馆;照片:金圣泰“昂门”603003br伊尔明美术馆603003br 9月7日至11月25日,过去几年访问过首尔的任何人无疑都会对韩国消费者崇拜的庞大规模感到惊讶。当然。在Ilmin艺术博物馆,匿名艺术家Sasa[44]在他最近举办的名为“Ungmang”的个人展览中,展示了韩国文化令人作呕的一面。这个词在韩语中的定义意味着毁灭或毁灭,艺术家进一步解释为“一个如此混乱而无法控制的国家”。萨萨[44]试图通过顺从地组织超过4024瓶空瓶、78双耐克和阿迪达斯运动鞋的藏品进入有序的网格状排列,来抓住这种“混乱”。但是这里也有很多幽默。诸如《请不要碰》(2018)等具有讽刺意味的令人瞠目结舌的墙文嘲笑了通过消费者驱动的青年文化产生的不安全感。更重要的是,这场展览开启了对萨萨(44)自身消费的详细审查。这包括一系列彩色编码图表和线图,标题为《2016年年度报告》(2017),记录了艺术家多年来所吃的每一种食物和饮料。萨萨[44]通过呈现大量无用的信息,激发我们思考当前消费文化热潮的潜在影响。康承丽无题窗帘前景别墅2018档案颜料印刷哈尼穆勒纸48x33cm.jpg The Best Art Exhibitions in Seoul - 汉城最佳艺术展康承丽,花园,2018,仍然来自三通道视频。礼仪:艺术家、一与J画廊、首尔康成李、“花园”一号和J画廊,11月22日至12月22日,游客将在洛杉矶康成李即将举行的个人展览中发现不仅仅是植物和花卉。


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