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Veteran artists’ autumn day out

Bahk Yiso, Lee Kang-so, Im Ok-sang and Oh Chi-gyun hold solo shows in Seoul

A number of South Korea’s veteran artists are holding solo exhibitions in Seoul after a considerable hiatus.

Im Ok-sang, an artist who has been wandering outside galleries painting murals and making installation works in Seoul’s poorest neighborhoods, has gathered his work for his first show in eight years.

At the exhibition “Masterpieces” currently underway at Gana Art Gallery in Pyeongchang-dong, central Seoul, the 61-year-old artist is showcasing about 50 of his recent installations and paintings, mostly made of earth.

“All materials are connected to each other. They all go back to earth and start again in earth,” said the artist at a press conference held before the opening of the show.

Among the exhibits, “Soil-Black box 1” seemed to explain Im’s goal of the exhibition: to catch his breath and have a little self-talk. He put up mud-plastered walls to create a room, 1.8 meters tall, wide and long, and drew on them imaginary animals, his thoughts and worries.

“It is the room in my mind. ‘Black box’ in the title refers to the mystery of earth, which is the start of everything as well as the end,” said the artist.

At Gallery Hyundai Gangnam Space in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul, Oh Chi-gyun, 55, is displaying his latest works from the last three years. Among the exhibits, ten feature persimmons, one of his most beloved and at the same time, hated subjects.

“Our brothers had to collect persimmons, not to eat but to earn money. Taking the first train, mother would go to the market and sell them,” once wrote the artist, who rarely appears in public.

Young Oh devoted all his energy to studying, only to escape from the situation. When he finally did make his escape, ironically, his hometown had become a subject of yearning and the soft rustling sound of persimmon leaves lingered in his ears.

“If the tedious struggles with persimmon trees had continued on, I would have never eaten them or dared to extravagantly paint them on a canvas,” said the artist.

Renowned author Kim Hoon was so inspired by Oh’s lifelike finger-painted persimmons while he was writing “Song of Sword” that he wrote short essays about them, which were later included in one of Oh’s exhibition pamphlets.

Artsonje Center in Hwa-dong, central Seoul is shedding new light on late conceptual artist Bahk Yiso. Bahk is considered to have introduced postmodern art theories to the Korean art scene. The gallery is presenting 230 drawings and early paintings at the exhibition “Lines of Flight.”

“Bahk ceaselessly recorded his ideas and stances with notes and drawings. For him, drawing was another tool for materializing and developing his conceptual attitude and creative domain,” said the organizers. 
“91204-Untitled” by Lee Kang-so (PKM Trinity Gallery)
“91204-Untitled” by Lee Kang-so (PKM Trinity Gallery)

Duck artist Lee Kang-so’s retrospective show will kick off at PKM Trinity Gallery in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul under the title “Nature.”

The 68-year-old artist has created a wide range of art from painting and sculpture to installation and photography, but the exhibition will focus on about 50 paintings spanning his 40-year-career.

Im Ok-sang’s “Masterpieces” runs through Sept. 18 at Gana Art Center in Pyeongchang-dong, central Seoul. For more information, call (02) 720-1020 or visit

Oh Chi-gyun’s “Persimmons” runs through Sept. 20 at Gallery Hyundai Gangnam Space in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul. For more information, call (02) 519-0800 or visit 
“Persimmons” by Oh Chi-gyun (Gallery Hyundai)
“Persimmons” by Oh Chi-gyun (Gallery Hyundai)

Bahk Yiso’s “Lines of Flight” runs through Oct. 23 at Artsonje Center in Hwa-dong, central Seoul. Tickets range from 1,500 won to 3,000 won. For more information, call (02) 733-8945 or visit

Lee Kang-so’s “Nature” runs from Sept. 16 to Oct. 29 at PKM Trinity Gallery in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul. For more information, call (02) 515-9496 or visit

By Park Min-young  (