At nighttime, Euljiro 4-ga in Seoul, long a home to craftsmen and hardware shops, takes on a wholly different look from the day.
Walking the streets in the area during the day, you can see a variety of small shops selling ironware, wood, tool supplies and household goods such as lighting and tiles, as well as craftsmen with decades of experience. The streets ring with the roar of machines, and various tools and tiles wait for customers.
When night falls and the metal and acrylic shops pull down their shutters, the streets turn into galleries. Colorful paintings appear on the shutters.
The Euljiro Shutter Art Project has been carried out by the Jung-gu District Office since 2016. Lee Won-kyung, who organized the project, matched the workshop of a technical craftsman with artists to create an environment where people can encounter art by chance in their daily lives. Inspired by the unique scenery of Euljiro 4-ga and the daily life of craftsmen, artists completed a total of 30 works. The lights come on at night, illuminating the art until midnight.
Alongside the gallery, Euljiro Street has another attraction. When the shutters are closed and the street lights are lit one by one, folding tables and chairs are densely spread on the streets. The streets are crowded with elderly and young people out to enjoy frothy beer and dried “nogari,” or dried pollack. The beer shops, which have relieved workers’ annoyance and fatigue from days long gone, are now comforting and delighting more people at night.
Written by Shin Ji-hye
Photos by Park Hyun-koo