Display of Mexican sculpture and photographs“Only a fairly limited number of Mexican artists are thus far known to the public here, such as Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and the Mexican mural movement. And that is why I am delighted that Koreans and foreign residents will now have an opportunity to appreciate these contemporary sculptures by an internationally renowned Mexican artist, Ernesto Alvarez,” said Yoon Keum-jin, the director of the Korea Foundation Cultural Center. She was making the opening speech last Thursday for the exhibition “Signos” (means “signs” in English) at the center’s Nuri gallery.
The show, which was organized by the Embassy of Mexico in Seoul, shows 14 sculptures by Alvarez as well as 14 photographs by Ignacio Guavara. The theme of the exhibition is the relationship between nature and society, and how the two forces have always co-existed despite conflict.
The sculptures combine natural, muted colors with geometrical shapes. Many of the sculptures are variations of triangular shapes, mixed with other clean lines and angles. “Ernesto Alvarez’s works stand out for his diverse and voluptuous forms, perfectly worked in steel, accompanied by a full chromatic in which the blues, the reds, the yellows and other strong colors mix with black,” said Luis G. Sanchez, the deputy head of mission for the Embassy of Mexico in Korea.
Displayed along with the sculptures are photographs of the city of Teotihuacan, considered one of the main tourist destinations in Mexico.
“I’ve been to Mexico many times. Actually, I’ve been to this area in person. The photographs are great but you should see it in real life as well, it is quite a site,” said Federico A. Gonzalez, the ambassador of Paraguay to Korea who attended the opening ceremony.
Compared to the minimalist sculptures by Alvarez, the black-and-white photographs of Teotihuacan have a grander scale and quiet majesty. The focus is such that the viewer feels as though he or she is looking at an ancient city in ruins, where cracked stairs and empty grounds neighbor large structures.
The photographs also display a merger of society and nature, where unchangeable forces of nature are in line with a modern traveller’s view of a city’s existence.
The artists and works, which were chosen by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Mexico, are on rotation throughout this year. The sculptures have been to Iran and are set to leave for Japan after the Korean exhibition. The photographs traveled through Russia before landing at the Korea Foundation Cultural Center.
by Cho Jae-eun
“Signos” runs through July 26, at the Korea Foundation Cultural Center. The nearest subway station is City Hall, line No. 2, exit 9. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a later close of 9 p.m. Wednesdays. Admission is free. For more information, call (02) 3789-5600 or visit www.kfcenter.or.kr.