Summer festivals bring art closer to audience

By Lee Woo-young

Events seek to bridge gap between visual art and audience with art-making programs and late-night exhibitions

  • Published : Jun 30, 2014 - 19:29
  • Updated : Jun 30, 2014 - 19:29
An artist paints on the wall at the Handmade Korea Fair last year. (Handmade Korea)
The Seoul art calendar for this summer abounds in festivals inviting audiences to late-night exhibitions, programs to draw and create sculptures, affordable artwork sales and other activities.

The door to the festive art summer was opened by the 10th Gwanghwamun International Art Festival in early June. The festival, which features art exhibitions and a children’s painting contest, ends on July 8 with a sculpture exhibition that sheds light on lesser-known clay sculptures at the Sejong Art Center exhibition hall.

Artist Lee Kun-hee will highlight primitive and indigenous aspects of clay sculpture. Clay has been overshadowed by classic ceramics and pottery that its use has been confined to making ornaments. The exhibition is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Handmade Korea Fair invites some 400 artists and designers to present their works at the spacious Coex exhibition hall from July 10-13. The fair with the goal to show “everything made by hand” will hold live painting performances throughout the event period. Visitors will be able to watch the work process of the artists who will be painting on an 8-meter temporary white wall in the convention hall.

This year’s edition invites Japanese and Chinese artists who will showcase their works at the East Asia exhibition hall and collaborate with Korean artists to present a joint art project.

The fair seeks to encourage visitors to hang an art piece in their home. Illustrators present some 100 small paintings for 50,000 won ($50) each, much lower than usual market prices for paintings 22-centimeters wide and 15-centimeters long.

The fair will also bring together a variety of art toys made by Korean artists including Seoul Monz, Junk House and Yeom Seoung-il. The art toys will feature unique designs inspired by Korean mythical character Dokkaebi and using unusual materials such as ceramics. 
“Pillar” by Lee Hun-kee is shown during the Gwanghwamun International Art Festival (GIAF)

The zeal for art festivals will continue throughout mid-summer as the Korea Fine Arts Association is kicking off an outdoor art festival in Yeouido Park from July 26-30.

The Gwangjang Art Festival brings some 300 artists who are members of the KFAA and present 10 art creations of each artist. More than 3,000 artworks will go on exhibit until late at night at Yeouido Park for office workers and those who seek escape from summer heat. The artworks will also be put up for sale.

Prior to the festival opening, the KFAA has been conducting various art activities throughout the city. It held spontaneous paint art performances on Gwanghwamun Plaza in May and art therapy sessions with psychiatrists. More art performances are scheduled for Yeouido Park and an art exhibit will be held on a KTX train.

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