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Seoul Metropolitan Government Unveils 'Sculpture in Seoul' Plan, Transforming Seoul into a Roofless Art Museum

‘2023 Art Seoul Exhibition’ at Nodeul Island ©Seoul Metropolitan Government

The Seoul Metropolitan Government has announced its ‘Sculpture in Seoul’ plan to become a global “sculpture city” starting this year, revealing detailed implementation projects and mid- to long-term strategies.

The core of the plan is to organically connect citizens, artists, and spaces, transforming the entire city into a giant ‘roofless exhibition hall’. Citizens will be able to enjoy high-quality sculptures as part of their daily lives, and artists will have the opportunity to present experimental exhibitions in various spaces beyond the boundaries of museums. Furthermore, the city will establish its identity as an attractive urban space that harmonizes space and artwork through sculptural art landmarks that will be created throughout the city.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government has formed the Sculpture in Seoul Promotion Committee, comprised of experts in the field, to secure the expertise of the project and establish governance to make it a global event. It has completed preparations to systematize the project, including hiring a professional art director (Jee Young Maeng).

‘The 1st Seoul Sculpture Prize’ Poster Image ©Seoul Metropolitan Government

The Seoul Metropolitan Government has established the ‘Seoul Sculpture Prize,’ which will be held this year. The prize aims to revitalize the art of sculpture by discovering outstanding artists and exhibiting their works at major attractions in Seoul. From next year, the Seoul Sculpture Prize will be expanded to an international competition to raise the status of Seoul as an international sculpture city.

The inaugural Seoul Sculpture Prize is open for submissions until April 17 (Wed), with the theme of ‘The Stranger Encounter’. Ten artists will be selected as the first round of entrants, and in November, one final grand prize winner will be selected from among the 10 entrants based on the evaluation of citizens and professional judges. The 10 works selected as winners will be exhibited at the Seoul Sculpture Festival held at Open Songhyeon Green Plaza in September, and the grand prize winner will be moved to Noeul Sculpture Park to be installed so that more citizens can see it for a longer period of time.

As a representative event of ‘Sculpture in Seoul’, the Seoul Sculpture Festival will be held for seven days from September 2 (Mon) to September 8 (Sun). The festival will showcase high-quality sculpture exhibitions, including works that won the Seoul Sculpture Prize, at Open Songhyeon Green Plaza, World Cup Park, and Hangang Park. The Seoul Sculpture Festival will be held in conjunction with Seoul Art Week 2024 (Sept. 2~9.8), which is held in conjunction with the Kiaf-Frieze Seoul art fair, now in its third year. The festival aims to make it easier for art professionals and art lovers from around the world to enjoy the charm of Seoul’s visual arts, and to host a variety of exhibitions and cultural events that everyone can enjoy.

‘2023 Art Seoul Exhibition’ at Songhyeon Park ©Seoul Metropolitan Government

In addition, the ‘3.3m2 Sculpture Museum Project’ will begin in July. The project is designed to exhibit sculptures in underutilized and neglected spaces in the city center so that citizens can encounter high-quality works in various spaces in their daily lives. This year, the exhibition will be held in five locations: ▴Sejong Center (lounge on the 2nd floor), ▴Seoul Hall of Urbanism & Architecture (Seoul MARU), ▴Seoul City Hall front garden, ▴Gwanghwamun Plaza (Exit 7), and Nodeul Island.

Meanwhile, the city and the private sector will cooperate to promote the ‘Private Cooperation Exhibition’ to foster competent exhibition planners and provide open exhibition opportunities for various participants. The idea is to provide opportunities for experimental collaborations between curators and artists in the context of Seoul’s spacious venues. The 2024 Sculpture in Seoul Private Cooperation Exhibition will be held at ▴Open Songhyeon Green Plaza and ▴Ttukseom Hangang Park from May.

Based on the ‘sculpture art’ policy for citizens and artists, the city will promote a mid- to long-term strategy to landmark major parks in Seoul as sculpture parks. Five sculpture art landmarks, including ▴Open Songhyeon Green Plaza, ▴World Cup Park, ▴Nodeul Island, and ▴North Seoul Dream Forest, will be created, while outdoor sculpture rotating exhibitions will be held on the banks of the Han River.

Choi Kyung Ju, head of the city’s Culture Headquarters, said, “The Sculpture in Seoul project is a meaningful policy attempt to transform Seoul into a sculpture art landmark, a place where citizens and artists can freely share artistic inspiration through the medium of ‘sculpture,'” and “We will continue to discover and implement various events and policies to help Seoul become a world-class sculpture city.”

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