Human concerns, sculptural means

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Human concerns, sculptural means

This winter, Seoul embraces the French sculptor Auguste Rodin with exhibits at the Seoul Arts Center and the Rodin Gallery.

The Rodin Gallery in downtown Seoul is featuring an exhibition of contemporary Korean art called "Bodyscape." It embraces Rodin's magnificent obsession: the human form.

"Bodyscape" includes 16 works by nine Korean artists, including Kim Il-yong, Park Young-sook, Jung Hyun and Yun Ae-young. As if to offer contemporary parodies of Rodin's "The Gates of Hell," the artists employ various concepts and media for their interpretations of human physicality. Viewers are asked to question society's changing perceptions about the human body, challenging fundamental values.

Yet for all of the parody projected by the works on display, some observers note that the parody began with Rodin, who lived from 1840 to 1917. His unfinished, fragmentary bronze depictions of the human form signaled the end of realistic sculpture's grip on the human imagination.

Rodin's original works will speak for themselves when the Brooklyn Museum of Art's collection goes on display on Tuesday at the Seoul Arts Center in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. The exhibition, in the Hangaram Gallery, offers a chance to study the evolution of Rodin's major works.

Included in the show are 15 preliminary works intended to be part of "The Burghers of Calais," as well as "Danaid" (1885) and "Eve" (1881), sculptures crafted during the long making of "The Gates of Hell."

Also on display is a bronze cast of Rodin's signature work, "The Thinker" (from the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia), the sculpture that perhaps best depicts the dual nature of his work. It embodies Descartes' proclamation, "I think, therefore I am," and yet its roughness suggests that mankind is only material, at best.

"Auguste Rodin: From the Cantor Collection of the Brooklyn Museum of Art" runs at the Seoul Arts Center until Feb. 23. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily, except for Jan. 2, 3 and 6. Admission is 9,000 won ($7.50) for adults and 5,000 won for children. For more information, call (02) 368-1516 or visit the Web site at

The "Bodyscape" exhibition at the Rodin Gallery also runs until Feb. 23. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays. Admission is 4,000 won for adults and 2,000 won for children. For more information, call (02) 750-7818 or visit the Web site at

by Inēs Cho

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