Japanese art speaking beyond private thoughts

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Japanese art speaking beyond private thoughts


“To Forget Oneself,” Masada Takeshi. Provided by the organizer

In a rare opportunity, 20 contemporary artists reflect extreme individuality in “Re: Membering - Next of Japan” at two galleries in Seoul.

Alternative Space Loop, near Hongik University, northwest Seoul, will display larger pieces such as installations. Doosan Gallery in Jongno, central Seoul, carries more paintings.

According to the curator Ryu Hee-jung at Loop, the “Re:” symbolizes the act of responding, such as in the e-mail replies of the Internet culture, and “Membering” represents loose relationships among strangers.

The overall theme indicates lonely individuals living and interacting in today’s world.

“What makes contemporary Japanese art different is the emphasis on the artists’ personal lives and individual territories,” Ryu said.

“Divorced from the historical or regional context, they pursue the self, the ego, in isolation,” she said.

The new trend is perhaps related to otaku, she said, a Japanese term describing obsessives living on the fringes of the mainstream.

Japanese artists’ creative energies tell unspoken thoughts and feelings, the curator explains, and they constantly code and decode their stories from very isolated points of view, inviting viewers to dig into their inner spirit.

Despite being very personal, the art can connect with viewers through the use of common objects and experiences, such as housecleaning and recycling, the organizers say.

The exhibition runs through June 25 at Alternative Space Loop from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Head to Hongik University subway station, line No. 2, exit 4. For Doosan Gallery, go to Jongno 5-ga subway station, line No. 1, exit 1. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.galleryloop.com or www.doosanartcenter.com.

By Yang Seung-hee Contributing writer [estyle@joongang.co.kr]
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