[Episode 2 of 8]
The Square: Art and Society in Korea Part 2
Live Gallery Tour with Curator Soojung Kang
Joint exhibition by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) in Gwacheon, Seoul, and Deoksugung
Korean Cultural Center New York (KCCNY) is pleased to present the second series of <Special Online Exhibition : Live Gallery Tour With The Curator>, from the National Museum of Modern Art (MMCA).
Since opening its doors on October 20, 1969, the MMCA has led the way in research, collection, exhibition, and international promotion of Korean art as one of Korea’s leading national art museums. To mark its 50th anniversary, the MMCA presents a range of artistic and public programs under the theme “Public Square” (or “gwangjang”), retracing its cultural endeavors of the past five decades while also envisioning the future of Korean art and the MMCA with the public. The museum presents a special exhibition: The Square: Art and Society in Korea 1900–2019 that sweepingly surveys the tumultuous flow of Korean history and art from the dawning years of the 20th century up to the present time. The exhibition comprises a chronologically ordered three-part structure presenting nearly 450 paintings, sculptures, and installation works representative of the past 100 years in Korean art. Part 1, held at MMCA Deoksugung, surveys the years 1900 to the 1950s; Part 2, held at MMCA Gwacheon, offers a synchronic view of the 1950s to the present; and Part 3, held at MMCA Seoul, explores Korea’s contemporary societal issues.
▲ Featured Artists: Approx. 100 artists including Oh Sechang, Chae Yongshin, Lee Sang, Kim Yongjun, Kim Whanki, Lee Quoede / 150 works and archives
▲ Exhibition Overview
The Square, Part 2 spans the year 1950 to the present, exploring the significance of art joined to life while reflecting on the history of Korean contemporary art in light of Korean society and the public square. The exhibition hall comprises seven themes borrowed from Choi Inhun’s novel The Square (1961): “Blackened Sun,” “One Path,” “Gray Caves,” “Painful Sparks,” “Blue Desert,” “Arid Sea,” and “White Bird.” Drawn mainly from the MMCA collection, each era’s seminal artworks, designs, handicrafts, and everyday objects are shown together in a space that transcends the era by encompassing individuals and communities alike. Material discovered with the help of specialists in literature, music, and theater allows for new perspectives toward Korean art history. The exhibition presents some 300 artworks and 200 archival materials by nearly 200 artists, including Pen Varlen, Park Sookeun, Lee Jungseob, Chang Uc-chin, Yoo Youngkuk, Suh Doho, Christian Boltansky, and Lee Bul. Kim Whanki’s representative painting Where in What Form, Shall We Meet Again (1970) is shown alongside a moon jar and celadon prunus vase that inspired the work. Yun Isang’s handwritten music sheets of Image (1968), composed during his imprisonment caused by the East Berlin Affair, is shown next to Lee Ungno’s painting Composition (1968), also completed in prison. The Main Hall reproduces the public square of the 1980s with Oh Yoon’s geolgae (banner) painting (1980s) once thought to have been lost, Choi Byungsoo’s large-scale geolgae paintings Save Han-yeol (1987) and A drawing of Labor Liberation (1989), Sneaker of Lee han-yeol, a patric martyr for Democracy(1987), and Bae Youngwhan’s Pop Song 3: Farewell to My Youth (2002), all of which reinterpret and reconstitute sites of protest. The Circular Gallery presenting the “Present-Day Square” offers a space for remembrance and mourning with works by Parttime Suite and weaving life, weaving nature_Jung Eun Sil, which are completed by participation of the viewers.
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