Filed under: Korea, Travel | Tags: Contemporary art in Korea, Seoul Grand Park
I was supposed to go to Busan today, but the person I was going to meet said they were leaving early. So after a meal of Kimchi Jiggea with Japanese noodles, I decided to cancel my ticket, and just wonder within the subway system. I love that the light blue lines have pictures of places that might be of interest. I hopped on line 4, and went to Seoul Grand Park. Obviously somewhere that is meant to be enjoyed in the summer, as all the gardens were wrapped up, I found it hugely relaxing and calm though compared to the last couple of weeks. There were a few families milling around, and I headed up to the National Museum of Contemporary Art.
This guys jaw moves up and down and he is singing something rather somber and pleasant.
The special exhibit right now is called Peppermint Candy. Artists that grew up and were formed by the 1980s social and political change. The exhibit was taken to Chilie as part of a cross-cultural exchange, and was popular due to Chile going through similar changes at similar times. I got a lot more out of the exhibit because of the wonderful English-speaking docent who gave me a great and informative tour of the exhibit.
True to art everywhere, this exhibit featured artists that live on the fringe of Korean society. There were large collections done by two openly gay artists. One of my favorite pieces was a giant floor mat sculpted from incense with English and Korean words spelling out famous gay bars. It burns for two months, and then is created again.
Another one of the artists prominently featured is a Korean woman in her mid-thirties married to a German man. She took several photographs of Korean/foreign relationships where none of the couples looked particularly happy. Although looking at the viability of cross-national relationships, she said some of the couples argued that it wasn’t necessarily about culture, but the nature of marriage and their own inner problems that were keeping them disconnected.
This artist also had pictures of older, nude, Korean women in their houses. The docent told me that originally the director of the museum wasn’t going to let the pieces be shown, not because the women were naked, but because they weren’t showing women as classically beautiful. When the artist argued that that was preciously the point, I guess he relented. An interesting side note, is that when I said to the docent, “Oh, I see, she’s trying to show regular woman,” she got a distasteful look on her face and said, “No, not regular, old.” The difference in cultural norms about women glaring through once again.
The main, permanent exhibit of the museum is a wild, spiralling installation of thousands of tiny tiles surrounding a column of TVs. It was entertaining, and, luckily, they allowed pictures.
The best part of the day was riding the skylift back to the subway station. I’m not convinced that net below would do much if one were to fall of out the flimsy lap bar across the chair though.
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