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Sorol Art Museum enlivens Gangneung with illuminating architecture, Lucio Fontana exhibition

By Park Yuna

Published : Feb. 19, 2024 - 16:04

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Installation of “Lucio Fontana: Spatial Concept” at Sorol Art Museum (Sorol Art Museum) Installation of “Lucio Fontana: Spatial Concept” at Sorol Art Museum (Sorol Art Museum)

Sorol Art Museum opened its doors to the public in Gangwon Province last week, revealing its much-anticipated architecture designed by Meier Partners and presenting the first-ever exhibition of art master Lucio Fontana (1899-1968) in South Korea.

Pioneering contemporary artist Fontana is known for artistic attempts to overcome the limitations of the flatness inherent in traditional painting.

Located in the center of the coastal city of Gangneung -- one of the most scenic regions in Korea with a dramatic sea and mountain backdrop -- the museum was inspired by traditional Korean architecture, featuring a central courtyard. The complex was designed by Meier Partners, an American architecture firm founded by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Meier, whose portfolio is widely known for geometric designs and the color white.

“The design vision was to create a modest but lyrical composition incised into this spectacular landscape that would become the perfect backdrop for art and remain forever memorable to all who visit,” said Yeon Duk-ho, design partner in charge of Meier Partners.

Sorol Art Museum (Courtesy of the museum) Sorol Art Museum (Courtesy of the museum)

Within the pure and serene architecture, the museum presents “Lucio Fontana: Spatial Concept” as its inaugural exhibition, which kicked off Wednesday and is set to run through April 14. It is the first-ever exhibition of the art master in South Korea.

The exhibition is curated by the Lucio Fontana Foundation in collaboration with the Korean Research Institute of Contemporary Art.

The exhibition brings together 27 works -- six spatial installation works, 12 paintings and nine sculptures – from the Lucio Fontana Foundation’s collection. The works, created after 1947 -- the year Fontana introduced the spatialism art movement, reveal the artist’s research within the spatial lexicon, according to the foundation.

With spatialism, Fontana attempted to encapsulate form, color and sculptural aspects of sound in space, seeking to extend his art into the fourth dimension by incorporating the viewer’s movements.

"The works of Lucio Fontana, introduced for the first time in Korea through this exhibition, unfold the historical context of his innovative spatial art proposed in the late 1940s, raising significant aesthetic questions pertinent to contemporary art where the fusion of art and technology emerges as a crucial theme," said Kim Suk-mo, director of the museum.

Installation view of “In Dialog: Quac Insik” at Sorol Art Museum (Sorol Art Museum ) Installation view of “In Dialog: Quac Insik” at Sorol Art Museum (Sorol Art Museum )

Along with the Fontana exhibition, the museum also unveiled “In Dialog: Quac Insik” to illuminate the works of renowned Korean artist Quac In-sik (1919-1988) at its third exhibition hall. As an avant-garde artist who explored materiality, he opted to shatter glass plates with iron balls or tear and reassemble metal plates.

“The similarities in their performative and methodological approaches offer ample grounds for comparison,” the museum said in introducing the two exhibitions.

For the second exhibition slated to take place from May 4 to Aug. 25, the museum will shed light on prominent American artist Agnes Martin, which will mark the artist’s first museum-scale solo exhibition here.