Galleries Hope Registers JingleHo, Ho, Housewares and Prints Replace Pricey Paintings
With Christmas just around the corner, art galleries and artists are hoping to cash in on the gift-giving season. Galleries near Cheongdam-dong wrapped up their high-profile exhibitions last week. Expensive paintings have been replaced with home accessories and small prints that make ideal holiday gifts. Some galleries have even organized eclectic events hosted by performance artists. Here are few places to check out before you go on the annual ritual of Christmas shopping.
Gallery Helloart － Christmas Party Exhibition
This gallery, which began as an online business, opened in Cheongdam-dong last September. Normally, exhibitions at Gallery Helloart (www.helloart.com) focus on media-based works － digital art, for example. However, Christmas is an exception, with tableware and home accessories on display.
These tableware and small home accessories on display are more exotic than those on sale at the nearby Galleria Department Store in Apgujeong-dong.
Eight artists, each specializing in a different medium, are presenting works ranging from silver trays to candlesticks. In keeping with the spirit of Christmas, Ahn Ae-kyung, an interior designer and fabric artist, has re-arranged the gallery to give it a party atmosphere. Artists from Finland are contributing Christmas decorations and traditional Finnish homeware.
To fulfill the gallery's aim to provide "easy and approachable" art, Gallery Helloart presents contemporary works that are both creative and functional. The exhibition runs until Jan. 10. Contact 02-3446-4480.
Myeong-dong Gallery － "For Them & For You"
This exhibition, at the Myeong-dong Gallery in downtown Seoul, features works by members of a local artists' collective, the Blue X Group. Nine mixed-media artists in their early 30s to late 50s are showing works with a Christmas theme.
The exhibition is divided into two sections.
"For You," which started last Saturday and will run through Dec.30, is strictly for viewers. Gallery curator, Ryu Ja-young, describes the works as "comfort pieces." Created specially for the exhibition, these smaller works, in a variety of styles, are designed to give pleasure.
"For Them," which ended last Friday, featured works by the artists "for" the artists, with images and texts heavily based on their own artistic experiences.
Gallery Hyundai － "Holiday, Everyday and More"
This Christmas exhibition was organized by two art consulting companies, Noah and Do Art. "Holiday, Everyday and More" aims to imitate the 19th century craft-art movement led by William Morris in England. Featured in the display are works of art and home decorations by local emerging artists. The gallery's spokesperson, Do Hyung-tae, says the gallery aims "to bring art into everyday life." The show runs through Dec. 30.
Ganaart Shop and Jeom － "Art and Living"
Art shops are great places to buy holiday gifts. Ganaart Shop (www.artshop.co.kr), which opened its Internet shopping site last May, is part of ganaart.com, the art portal that provides on-line auctions (www.auctionhouse.com) and a cyber gallery.
Providing online and off-line services, the Ganaart Shop offers an impressive selection of chic but practical goods and textile products, such as scarves and cushion covers designed by professional textile artists. Shoppers can choose from a wide selection of prints at a 30 percent discount.
The shop is also offering two-for-one specials on casual rings designed by painters and jewelry artists. In the shop's print corner, holiday shoppers can view original prints by well-known local woodcut printmakers, Lee Jong-hwan and Lee Main-ik. Ganaart Shop is on the first floor of the Insa Art Center, Insadong.
In the same building, Jeom is celebrating with a "Happy New Millennium" exhibition through Jan. 9. The Korean Craft Foundation sponsors Jeom, which is an art shop and a craft gallery. Jeom is presenting works based on traditional Zen design elements, the latest in contemporary designs. The works by young artists use ceramics, textiles, glass and metal.
The owner of purse and accessories company Ssamzie Ltd, Chun Ho-kyun, established Ssamzie Space last June. Ssamzie Space includes the Baram performance hall, a gallery, artists' studios and the Sori event cafe. Since opening, Ssamzie has been presenting inter-disciplinary works as part of its public arts projects.
Located in Hongdae － the area around Hongik University, a district known for its avant-garde sub-culture and trendy cafes and clubs － Ssamzie Space offers exhibitions that are socially engaging.
On Christmas Eve, a performance and sound artist, Sohn Jung-eun, will present "Christmas Soma," based on food, drink and Eastern mythology. Ms. Sohn will make some "soma" drink, which in East Indian myths is supposed to induce ecstasy and give eternal life. Ingredients include flower extracts, honey, milk, alcohol and herbs. The drink will be distributed to the adults in the audience during the performance.
Dressed in white and wearing a wig that comes down to her feet, Sohn will turn the gallery space into a ritual site as the wizard of Christmas Eve.
Also celebrating Christmas, artists participating in Ssamzie's residency program, under which the gallery provides studios and funding for young and emerging talent, will open their studios to the public, starting Saturday. Contact, 02-3142-1693.
by Park Soo-mee