Contemporary art for body and mind

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Contemporary art for body and mind

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“Between Red” by Sea Hyun Lee (2008, Oil on linen) depicts the artist’s impression of the landscape near the military demarcation line dividing Korea, where he served in the army in his twenties.

Contemporary art is often regarded by the public as being difficult to understand.

The exhibition “New Organ,” co-organized by the British Council and the Coreana Museum of Art space*c in Seoul, attempts to change this perception and make art more accessible.

One of the more intriguing things about the exhibit is its title, which may make visitors wonder whether this is an art exhibit or a science fair. But the exhibit’s 23 works varying from painting to photography, film and installation art leave little room for doubt.

Rather, the title refers to the way contemporary art has developed over time as new kinds of media have emerged.

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“Wonderland - I want to be a singer” (2004, C print), top, is among 12 photographs by Yeondoo Jung on display in the exhibit “New Organ,” bottom, at the Coreana Museum of Art space*c. Provided by the organizer

“The exhibition’s title New Organ refers to sensory organs or sensitivity, which go through their own process of development, just as contemporary art has,” U Kyung Oh, the curator of the exhibition, said. “The exhibition, which showcases contemporary art through various genres of art, will show viewers that the artistic process is not something recorded in art history books. It moves and progresses in the moment.”

The exhibition features five Korean artists working in as many fields: Sea Hyun Lee in painting, Yeondoo Jung in photography, Jeon Joonho in film, Kira Kim in participatory art and Ligyung in installation art.

The five artists, who all studied art in London and are active in Korea and abroad, were selected by the British Council. With the council’s connections around the globe, the artists will be given the chance to show their work not only in Korea but also in other countries, the curator said.

To create their work, and grow as artists, the artists draw on their personal experiences, which are as varied as the media in which they work.

“The inspiration for my artwork has come from sources that are significant to me,” said Sea Hyun Lee, an artist participating in the exhibition. “One of them is what I felt about a divided country when I was in the service in my early twenties. The landscape that I saw through night vision goggles while on nighttime guard duty near the military demarcation line was so beautiful but scary at the same time because of military and political circumstances surrounding us. I expressed the contradictory feelings that I had at the time through the color red,” he added.

Ligyung, another participating artist said, “Through my work, I am trying to answer questions such as ‘Where are we?’ and ‘How much of what we see should we believe?’ In order to understand contemporary art better, I recommend that people try to have an open mind and just enjoy it, much in the same way you need to open your heart to understand someone with whom you are speaking.”

“New Organ” runs until Feb. 12 at the Coreana Museum of Art space*c in Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, southern Seoul. Go to Apgujeong Station, line No. 3, exit 3. The gallery is located across the street from Dosan Park and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (02) 547-9177 or visit www.spacec.co.kr.


By Park Sun-young [spark0320@joongang.co.kr]

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