The Korea Herald


Art outside the mainstream

Museums introduce creative exhibitions that offer fresh insight into the latest practice of contemporary art

By Lee Woo-young

Published : Jan. 6, 2014 - 19:51

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“Vaseline Football Gear,” Beak Jung-ki (ArtSonje Center) “Vaseline Football Gear,” Beak Jung-ki (ArtSonje Center)
A number of museums have unveiled ambitious New Year plans to hold blockbuster exhibitions featuring big-name artists or select masterpieces that they tout can be encountered just once in a lifetime.

But, some will attempt to go beyond such popular showcases of art to offer fresh insights into the latest art trends.

Scheduled art exhibitions are focused on giving new perspectives of art and engaging with spectators.

The first exhibition at Art Sonje Center defies stereotyped perceptions of opening hours and space as it will take place in non-exhibition areas in the center from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., after the regular opening hours. From Feb. 15 to March 30, the museum will display site-specific works by three Korean artists ― RohwaJeong, Lee Won-woo and Lee Kyung ― at the entrance, on the roof-top, in an underground parking lot, stairways and the backstage area of art halls.

The artist duo RohwaJeong will attempt to direct viewers’ attention to neglected factors of everyday life. Media artist Lee Kyung will give spectators a new perception of space by revealing silhouettes of space using darkness and light. Lee Won-woo will take a more practical approach by setting up a greenhouse that will keep visitors warm during evening exhibitions.

The role of gender, once a typical topic in the art world, will then be brought up yet again in the museum, which will review traditional gender roles in Korean and Middle Eastern cultures, two of the most male-centric societies in the world. Its December 2014 exhibition will present fresh interpretations of masculinity, and social and political perspectives of gender in the two cultures, through pieces by artists from Korea, Turkey, Iraq, Israel and Afghanistan. For more information, visit

Daelim Museum’s Project Space, a billiard hall-turned-art project hall in Seoul, announced a lineup of seven artists for 2014. They are young emerging artists in the fields of movie, multidisciplinary art, sound, publication, installation and design. Each artist will show their unique practice of art. The first exhibition of this year, starting from Jan. 25, will feature sound artist Nam Sang-won who makes artistic use of sounds in diverse fields including electronic music, visual arts and contemporary dance. Graphic designer and illustrator Oh Hye-jin will also display various visual artworks made of commercial posters, photographs and music videos. For more information, visit

Seoul Museum of Arts focuses on topics that have been rarely dealt with in the Korean art scene. It will introduce African art and design extensively, which haved been ignored in the scene amid mainstream art centered on U.S. and European artists. Following the current exhibition “Nordic Passion,” which examines public architecture and design of Northern Europe, the museum will turn then to Africa in an effort to examine the continent’s art in its December exhibition.

The museum, whose New Year’s goal is to explore themes given less spotlight so far, aims to shed light on refugees through sculptures and media works that offer a glimpse into their lives and journeys in an exhibition scheduled to run from Feb. 7-23. For more information, visit 
“Around the World + Melting Square,” by Koichi Enomoto (Arario Gallery) “Around the World + Melting Square,” by Koichi Enomoto (Arario Gallery)
Arario Gallery presents a cartoon-inspired group exhibition of Korean, Chinese and Japanese artists whose works stand in the gray area between cartoon and fine art. Having spent their teen years in the 1980s and 1990s when the spread of mass media and popularity of cartoons prevailed, the three artists ― Lee Dongi, Sun Xun and Koichi Enomoto ― present different ways of incorporating popular cartoon culture into fine art. The exhibition runs from Jan. 7 to Feb. 20. For more information, visit

By Lee Woo-young (