Art exhibit delivers real bow-wow

Home > Culture > Features

print dictionary print

Art exhibit delivers real bow-wow

Roll over Beethoven, and Picasso and Monet, too. Gallery Savina presents a fetching idea for an exhibition.

Those who bring their pet dogs with them to art exhibitions can usually expect, 10-to-1, to be turned away at the gallery gate. But here is an exhibition that welcomes dogs as well as human visitors.

The exhibition, titled, simply enough, "The Dog," consists of about 50 works on the theme of dogs, including paintings, photographs and sculptures, by 31 contemporary Korean artists. The exhibition, planned by Gallery Savina, runs at the gallery in Anguk-dong, Seoul, until Aug. 31.

"Many people regard dogs as friends or family members rather than simple domestic animals," said Lee Hee-jung, a curator at Gallery Savina. "But people regard dogs also as an object of contempt. When people abuse somebody, they compare him to a dog. We have gathered artworks showing such mixed attitudes toward dogs for this exhibition."

"The Dog" exhibition is divided into three smaller themes -- dogs as themselves, dogs as a satire on human society and dogs as a reflection of the artists' identities.

Among the exhibits, "The Summer Solstice," a painting by Kim Dong-sun, shows the dog as man's friend. The dog in the painting looks sulky. Dogs tend to sulk if people pay little attention to them, the artist says, and the sulky look of the dogs resembles that of human children.

In "Self-portrait," a painting by Julie Hwang, and "Artist," a painting by Ahn Chang-hong, dogs are not only the friends of the artists, but also reflections of the artists' identities. In a self-portrait by Ms. Hwang, her bulldog appears wearing glasses in her place. The artist says her dog, which is accustomed to human care, is tame and passive just like her.

In the painting by Mr. Ahn, a Dalmatian sits, its neck collared and leashed. Mr. Ahn says the dog represents himself, an artist who cannot paint with a free spirit, but must think about what critics and curators want.

In "Soak," a sculpture by Cheon Sung-myung, a dog is inserted into the body of a human-shaped statue that is shedding tears. The work shows a friend of the artist, who lives with a dog, isolated from the outside world.

The dogs in the painting, "Politician Scrappers = Fighting Dogs," by Kim Shik, symbolize those politicians who devote themselves to fighting for their interests.

"Dog Day," a painting by Choi Suk-un, criticizes the cruel slaughter of dogs. "The Red House, the Dog" by Lee Heung-duk, satirizes a world where the stronger prey upon the weaker.

What are the reactions of the dog visitors to those artworks?

"Dogs show great interest in sculptures," says Mr. Lee, "such as 'Stuffed' by Park Chan-yong and photographs such as the work by Kwon Yeo-Hyun. They sniff about those artworks and sometimes bark at them."

by Moon So-young

More in Features

Nothing's fair in love and Covid

Top culture stories of the year

[ZOOM KOREA] The pipe organ master with plans for a uniquely Korean instrument

ENFJ-LMNOPQ what does the MBTI say about you?

A war wages on online over Korea's most-loved heritages

Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)

What’s Popular Now