Still-life paintings that reflect who we are today

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Still-life paintings that reflect who we are today


Yoon Byung-rock’s “Autumn Fragrance” is painted on hanji, traditional Korean paper. Provided by Gallery Hyundai

A still life usually captures ordinary inanimate objects such as fruit on a dining table, or a pair of dusty sneakers next to a shoe cabinet.

However, 22 young artists are defying tradition with their own take on what constitutes a still life at an art exhibition entitled “The Still: Logical Conversation.”

“This is one of biggest group exhibitions to focus on still-life painting, and visitors to the exhibition will discover a whole new angle to the genre,” said Sung Eun-jin from Gallery Hyundai.

According to the gallery, still-life painting dates back to the late 16th century when artists started to paint images that would show off their financial power.

The genre later came to reflect the lives of ordinary people or certain classes of society. In that sense, the 22 artists participating in the Hyundai Gallery show are also shedding light on modern life in Korea.

Kim Ki-ra’s “Still Life with a Cheesecake” depicts a fast-food meal including a hamburger and fried chicken, which he then subverts by adding a fly that sits on top of the sesame seed bun.

Cheong Kwang-ho’s “The Still Life 7150” challenges preconceived notions of what constitutes a still-life painting by rendering regular subjects for the genre such as a pair of dress shoes and a bag in copper wire.

Kim Duck-yong uses a wooden board and dancheong skill in “The
Grain: Married Couple” to portray blankets.

Dancheong is one of the country’s oldest painting styles used to decorate wooden buildings, especially places such as palaces, gates and temples.

“The Still: Logical Conversation” runs through March 29 at Gallery Hyundai, located in Sinsa-dong, Gangnam District, southern Seoul.

The gallery is near Apgujeong Station, line No. 3, exit 2.

For more information, call (02) 519-0800 or visit

By Sung So-young Staff Reporter []
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