The Korea Herald


Global galleries reinvigorate Seoul showcases this summer

By Park Yuna

Published : July 19, 2023 - 09:44

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"Rond de Jambe No. 1" by Xiyao Wang (courtesy of the artist and Perrotin)

Seoul is experiencing a vibrant art scene this summer, as two leading galleries present exhibitions featuring artists from diverse artistic backgrounds.

Perrotin Gallery, which first opened a space in Seoul's Samcheong-dong in 2016, currently runs a gallery near Dosan Park in Gangnam, southern Seoul. The Samcheong-dong space closed in June.

The European gallery has unveiled new paintings by emerging artist Xiyao Wang, who was born in China and is based in Berlin. The exhibition “Allonge-- Out of Reach” is the artist’s second in Seoul.

Traversed by fine lines of black charcoal that are seemingly fragile and punctuated with accretions of colorful oil paint stick, the marks combine to inspire different images in the viewers’ minds -- for instance, a bird flying free or a ballerina’s graceful moves.

Wang is an avid ballet student, according to the gallery. The term in the exhibition title “allonge” is a ballet term that reminds dancers to elongate their position at the beginning or end of a movement and to focus on the continuity of the line that their body creates.

Following this concept in her work, Wang considers it a mantra for composing herself just before her hand makes contact with the canvas.

"K.A. 280" by Huong Dodinh (Pace Gallery)

Pace Gallery is presenting debut exhibitions of two artists in Seoul -- Vietnamese-born artist Huong Dodinh and American artist Matthew Day Jackson.

Dodinh was born in 1945 in Soc Trang, Vietnam, and was forced to flee her home country with her family who sought refuge in Paris in 1953 after the outbreak of the First Indochina War. She has cultivated her art in Paris ever since but remained detached from the mainstream art world for decades, rarely showing her works.

The exhibition “Huong Dodinh: Vie l Vide,” featuring the artist’s K.A. series that she began in the early 2000s, aims to introduce her art to an Asian audience and the wider world in general. For nearly six decades, the artist has devoted her painting practice to three central tenets -- light, density and transparency.

"Two Moons (after Bierstadt)" by Matthew Day Jackson (Pace Gallery)

Titled “Mathew Day Jackson: Counter-Earth,” the exhibition is on the ground floor of the gallery. Jackson explores a wide range of subjects, often grappling with notions of American national identity and the purists of a false utopia throughout the country’s history.

"All the paintings (here) are references to the mid to late 19th century European paintings largely of the American landscape, also combined with romantic landscapes in Caspar David Friedrich's paintings," Jackson said at the Seoul press tour on July 5.

To produce his paintings, Jackson uses a semi-autonomous laser process that imbues his works with an uncanny feel. Layering images sourced from landscape photography and painting as well as everyday scenes he has captured on his iPhone, the artist invites questions of beauty and horror. The three exhibitions run through Aug. 19.