When night comes, museum opens

By Lee Woo-young

ArtSonje Center opens its doors to visitors after regular exhibition hours, and invites them to explore the museum building with artworks that turn attention to unnoticed space

  • Published : Feb 17, 2014 - 19:39
  • Updated : Feb 17, 2014 - 19:39
“The Work at Night” by RohwaJeong. (ArtSonje Center)
Artworks have escaped the spaces and hours of a regular exhibition. In unlikely places at ArtSonje Center, like the rear door of the formal exhibition space, a utility room and the rooftop, installation art pieces are scattered for display from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Finding the artworks feels like a treasure hunt as they are located in inconspicuous spots inside the building. The museum map guides viewers to the location of each artwork. If they don’t concentrate on the map, they may miss some of them.

With a display of installation pieces in obscure places, the pair of artists RohwaJeong shine a spotlight on overlooked areas that visitors normally pass without paying attention. The parking kiosk in front of the museum is turned into a small party joint with a disco ball circling from the ceiling. Three light-boxes which once contained exhibition posters feature verses from a literary work, with some words missing from the lines. On the narrow passage to the museum garden, the artists have installed a paper tree to cast a shadow on the wall. It looks like the shadow of a real tree.

“The installations located in hard-to-find places in the museum intend to highlight the spaces that are easily missed by the audience,” said the duo at the press preview last week. “RohwaJeong” is a combination of the last names of the artists.

Artist Yum Joong-ho placed a rock on a ventilation window of a small pork cutlet eatery, the back door of which faces the front of the museum. Yum also randomly placed rocks inside the mechanical equipment room and wrote words on the surfaces with dust, like “Hurry Up” and “Confusion.” The artist said he wanted to draw attention to things that people consider mediocre while their daily life is surrounded by serious, shocking news stories.

The rooftop of the museum may be the perfect place to enjoy a panoramic night view of the historical places of Seoul. With Gyeongbokgung Palace, the Seoul Fortress Wall and the N Seoul Tower on Mount Namsan in the distance, the nocturnal cityscape seems quiet and peaceful. In the middle of the rooftop stands a greenhouse installation filled with smoke. The smoke engulfs spectators as soon as they enter and offers the experience of disappearing from the present for a brief moment.

The six-person project group Lee Ak has installed their sound works in corners of the museum building. On the rooftop, viewers are asked to put on headphones and listen to the “sounds of Seoul” collected from each direction as they point a flashlight in various directions. 

“I wish I could disappear from the world or the other way around” by Lee Won-woo. (ArtSonje Center)

The exhibition is open from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. until March 29 at ArtSonje Center in Jongno-gu, Seoul. It is closed on Mondays. Admission is free. For more information, call (02) 733-8945, or visit

By Lee Woo-young (