Anticipated art shows to excite in 2016

By 줄리 잭슨 (Julie Jackson)

Exhibitions of Korean art masters and global names such as Anish Kapoor, Olafur Eliasson make Seoul a vibrant arts destination

  • Published : Jan 6, 2016 - 19:46
  • Updated : Jan 7, 2016 - 15:10

Museums and galleries in Seoul are getting ready to excite art audiences with an impressive lineup of artists this year.

Some of the most anticipated names include Korean art masters Lee Jung-seob, Yoo Young-guk, Chung Chang-sub and Nam June Paik, while international artists to be featured include Anish Kapoor and Olafur Eliasson.  
“Work” by Yoo Young-guk. (MMCA)

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of two giants of Korean art -- Lee Jung-seob and Yoo Young-guk. The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea will hold extensive exhibitions, featuring the masters’ works at its Deoksugung Palace branch museum. 

The MMCA will start with the solo exhibition of Lee Jung-seob (1916-56), one of the most celebrated modern artists in Korea, best known for his painting of a fighting bull. The exhibition, scheduled to run from June 1-Sept. 25, is expected to be the most comprehensive retrospective of Lee’s work. Gathering Lee’s work in one place has been a challenging task, as most of his paintings are privately owned, but the show will offer a broad overview of his artistic philosophy and life, according to the museum.
“Cockfighting” by Lee Jung-seob (MMCA)

Later on in the year, Yoo Young-guk (1916-2002), one of the first-generation abstract artists in Korea, will be under the spotlight at the Deoksugung branch of the MMCA. The exhibition, scheduled to be held Oct. 14-Feb. 5, will showcase some 120 abstract paintings, 20 sketches and other materials, offering an insight into the artist’s experiments throughout his career to create geometric abstract images. 

Following a series of successful solo shows of Korean monochrome art, or dansaekhwa, artists in 2015, Kukje Gallery presents a solo exhibition of another dansaekhwa artist Chung Chang-sup (1927-2011), Feb. 26-March 27. Chung is known for his “unpainted paintings” that are not made with paints and brushes, but with water and Korean dak, or mulberry, paper that was soaked in water and then molded onto a flat canvas. Chung sought to explore Taoist beliefs, balancing materials and nature in the act of art making. 
“Return one H” by Chung Chang-sub (Kim Sang-tae/Kukje Gallery)

Gallery Hyundai marks the 10th anniversary of the death of media art pioneer Nam June Paik (1932-2006) with an exhibition showcasing 40 of Paik’s works, including objects and records from Paik’s shamanic performance in the backyard of the gallery in 1990. The exhibition “Nam June Paik: When he was in Seoul” will be held Jan. 28 to coincide with the anniversary of Paik’s death on Jan. 29. 
Nam June Paik performs “A Pas de Loup,” a shamanic performance, held in the backyard of Gallery Hyundai in summer of 1990. (Gallery Hyundai)

The Seoul Museum of Art is also planning an exhibition of the museum’s collection of Nam June Paik works in June. 

Indian-British sculptor Anish Kapoor, famous for large-scale public sculptures, will a solo exhibition in the latter half of this year at Kukje Gallery, which hosted his previous two solo shows in 2003 and 2008. Kapoor is expected to show new large sculptures at his upcoming show in Seoul. Kapoor is well known for his gigantic “Cloud Gate” sculpture in Chicago and “Orbit Tower,” made to commemorate London’s hosting of the 2012 Summer Olympic. Kapoor’s works were also showcased in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles last year, following the exhibition of Korean monochrome artist Lee U-fan.  
“Sectional Body preparing for Monadic Singularity” by Anish Kapoor on view at Palace of Versailles (Kukje Gallery)

Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art will present the first solo exhibition of Danish artist Olafur Eliasson in Korea in October. Eliasson, known for his large installations exploring natural elements such as sunlight, water and air, was introduced to Korean audiences with his installation “Gravity Stairs” at the museum, a site-specific installation that featured mirrors and LED tubes according to the order of the planets in the solar system. 
“Gravity Stairs” by Olafur Eliasson (Leeum)

By Lee Woo-young  (wylee@heraldcorp.com)