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Museum Exhibitions to See During Frieze Week in Seoul

Partial exhibition view of "The Moments We Encounter" at the Suwon Museum of Art, Suwon. The exhibition is running from August 9, 2022 through November 06, 2022. © JD Woo.

The inaugural Frieze Seoul and Frieze Week, which is just about two weeks away, will introduce various artworks by international artists to South Korea.

As most of the galleries participating in Frieze Seoul are based outside Korea, the fair is expected to bring together artists from across the world and make waves in the Korean contemporary art scene. 

The influx from the international art world not only means introducing global art to Korea—it could also be a great opportunity to introduce the diverse aspects of Korean contemporary art that have been relatively unknown to the international art scene.

Art museums in Korea are currently holding various exhibitions showcasing the thriving Korean contemporary art scene.

Main image of "The Moments We Encounter" at the Suwon Museum of Art, Suwon. Courtesy of the museum.

The Suwon Museum of Art in Gyeonggi-do, Korea is currently holding The Moments We Encounter exhibition at the Suwon I’Park Museum of Art, which began in August 9 and will run until November 6, 2022. 

Focusing on the main collections of the Suwon Museum of Art, the exhibition presents collections from national and public art museums from across the country, including the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwangju Museum of Art, Gyeongnam Museum of Art, Seoul Museum of Art, and Busan Museum of Art. Covering various age groups and genres, the show presents 79 works by 24 Korean contemporary artists (teams), including Kim Tschang-Yeul, Lee Kun-Yong, Lee Donggi, Son Donghyun, and Hyun Sun Jeon.

The Moments We Encounter showcases works that artistically sublimate everyday life into three parts: “Nature,” “Human,” and “Beyond.” The first section, “Nature,” consists of art that looks at the environment and nature from the artist’s perspective. The second, “Human,” shows the artist’s various perspectives and attitudes toward history, society, and culture. The last section, “Beyond,” explores art pieces that transcend time and space and contain thoughts about the inner human being and art.

Artist Chung Seoyoung. Photo by Sohn Young-ok, Kukmin Ilbo.

The Seoul Museum of Art will open a solo exhibition of Chung Seoyoung (b. 1964) from September 1 to October 31, 2022. Chung is one of the artists who played a significant part in developing the Korean contemporary art scene in the 1990s.

Chung asks fundamental questions about the medium of sculpture. By manipulating everyday objects and materials, such as sponges, Styrofoam, glass, and rugs, Chung presents unfamiliar subjects by dealing with the relationships between objects. Sculptures are made through the artist’s relationship with the material and its intervention into the spaces with which her works engage. She creates spaces that invite viewers to consider their own space within the works’ realm, which sometimes gives the viewers an enigmatic impression.

Chung was one of the representative artists featured at the Korean Pavilion during the 50th Venice Biennale (2003). She also exhibited during the Gwangju Biennale (1997, 2002, and 2008).

Left: Poster image of Oh Min's Solo Exhibition. Right: Poster image of Osang Gwon and Choi Hanyel's exhibtion. © Ilmin Museum of Art.

The Ilmin Museum of Art will present two contemporary sculptors—Osang Gwon and Choi Haneyl—from August 23 to October 2, 2022. 

Gwon (b. 1974) and Choi (b. 1991) both attempt to deconstruct the concept of sculpture and interpret the genre in a new way. In this exhibition, the two artists exchange sculptural methodologies by critically studying each other’s sculptures and applying the methods learned to their own work.

Gwon expands the scope of contemporary sculpture by fusing two different media: photography and sculpture. He has worked on creating sculptures by attaching photos to a light support or creating works that subvert traditional sculptural language to interpret its concept differently. On the other hand, Choi reimagines the future of sculpture by deconstructing its existing perceptions and concepts and presenting sculptures with multiple identities. With the idea that anything that can support itself can be a sculptural piece, Choi uses the form of the medium as a concept. 

Recognized for his unique combination of photography and sculpture, Gwon has held a number of solo exhibitions in art institutions, such as the Manchester Art Gallery in the UK (2008). On the other hand, Choi is an emerging artist who recently participated in the Seoul Museum of Art’s group exhibition Sculptural Impulse, which showcased sculptures by young up-and-coming artists.

The Ilmin Museum of Art will also open Oh Min’s (b. 1975) solo exhibition If I can’t sing, I don’t want to be in your revolution (working title) as a separate project during the same period. Oh, a music major, works with time-based installations, such as sound, video, and performance. Time in Oh’s works flows and expands non-linearly, and the artist explores the different types of time-based media and their relationships. The exhibition’s title is a modification of the words “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be in your revolution,” said by Emma Goldman (1869–1940). Emma was a feminist heroine and anarchist activist in the early 20th century. The exhibition shows the non-linear structure and non-hierarchical nature of time handled by Oh.

Oh Min was one of the participating artists in the “Korea Artist Prize 2022” exhibition at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea.

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