If you want to explore the leading contemporary artists shaping the art scene in South Korea, consider checking out the exhibition Maniera at the DOOSAN Gallery, running until December 16.
DOOSAN Gallery, a nonprofit art institution, has been collecting works from numerous Korean artists who have collaborated with the gallery. In this exhibition, the gallery presents works from 19 artists—Donghee Koo, Osang Gwon, Inbai Kim, Gwangsoo Park, Yoon Hwan Bae, Nakhee Sung, Min Oh, Hyungkoo Lee, Youngzoo IM, Seoyoung Chang, Jia Chang, Jang Pa, Sojung Jun, Jihyun Jung, Heeseung Chung, Jeamin Cha, Yun Choi, Ham Jin, Sue Yon Hwang— under the theme of “Maniera.”
Derived from the artistic movement known as “Manierismo (or Mannerism),” which developed briefly in the 16th century, DOOSAN Gallery uses this term as the exhibition title because of the unique personalities of the participating artists and their role in Korean contemporary art history.
“Manierismo” was a short-lived art movement during the transitory period from the Renaissance to Baroque. Art from this period is difficult to categorize as it straddles the symmetrical perfection of Renaissance masters and the dramatic harmony of Baroque chiaroscuro. It initially carried negative connotations due to its uncanny and enigmatic quality with exaggerated proportions, distorted forms, and non-logical compositions. But in the 16th century, the term began to be used positively, signifying the artist’s distinctive and innovative style or manner.
The works in the exhibition embody the latter meaning. DOOSAN’s collection reflects the institution’s extensive timeline, the 15 years from its launch in 2007 through its period of readjustment during the pandemic in 2021. The exhibition Maniera, as the name suggests, centers on the works as the embodiment of each artist’s unique individuality.
While the exhibited works may feel unfamiliar as they diverge from the artists’ conventional styles, they now serve as milestones in connecting and advancing contemporary art, with each artist contributing their unique perspectives.