A pizza slice with a side of pop art

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A pizza slice with a side of pop art


The mural “A Gift” by Sa Suk-won uses striking colors and imagery to entice passersby. Provided by Gana Art Gallery

The new Mr. Pizza branch in Bangbae-dong in southern Seoul has more to offer than freshly baked pies.

Through a collaboration with Gana Art Gallery, Mr. Pizza has turned the entire building into an art space, called Mipihaus, that displays more than 100 artworks.

Mipihaus is a portmanteau of “Mr. Pizza” and “Bauhaus,” the German art and design school that became famous for its style and the artists associated with it.

The creation of the building is part of a larger trend toward public partnerships in art. And as Mipihaus is located right in front of a subway station and bus stop, the building fits right into the urban landscape.

Kim Min-seong, project director of Gana Art Gallery, said that Mipihaus was created with the artists in mind.

“Every space at Mipihaus is centered on the personality of the artist and their work,” Kim said. “The interior design came afterward.”

The first thing passersby will notice at Mipihaus is the seven-meter-high (23 foot) mural hanging on the first floor of a donkey carrying red roses against a striking yellow background.

Sa Suk-won, a sought-after contemporary artist, completed the painting by himself despite having acrophobia. The mural is called “A Gift.”

“As a resident who lives in Bangbae 3-dong, I wanted to do something for my neighborhood,” Sa said.

It is Sa’s hope that his work will serve as both an exhibition and interesting diversion for the public.


Artist Ha Myung-eun decorated this mirror in one of the bathrooms in Mipihaus with her funky pop art taste.

“Not only is the painting a gift I give to my neighbors, it is also a symbol of love from Mr. Pizza to its customers,” he said.

The art isn’t limited to Mr. Pizza.

In the basement, Manoffin Gallery has exhibitions all year round. Manoffin, a muffin maker, is owned by Mr. Pizza.

Its current exhibit is “A Gift,” after Sa’s piece, and continues through June 30. The works are by major artists in the contemporary scene, such as Paik Nam-june, Joseph Beuys, Kim Jong-hak, Park Su-geun, Park Hang-ryul, Yayoi Kusama and Yoshitomo Nara.

Another space in the building called Insong Hall, a multipurpose theater under the Manoffin Gallery, displays a grand piano, which was created by Chinese contemporary artist Li Jin in collaboration with Samik Piano. Li decorated the stark white piano with hand-drawn Chinese characters, but it is not just an art piece. It is actually used for public performances.

The piano is complemented by a wall full of colorful frogs, each measuring over 100 centimeters in length. The frogs, created by sculptor Keum Joong-ki, are suspended in mid-jump, adding a touch of humor to the room.

According to Kim, Mipihaus was built on the idea that “art should be enjoyed in everyday life.”

This idea is reflected throughout the building, not just in the basement and galleries, but also in more mundane spaces.

The bathrooms have colorful mirrors with a funky pop art spirit created by Ha Myung-eun, the recipient of the third-place prize in Manoffin’s Emerging Artist Contest last year.

Manoffin’s take-out boxes are covered with drawings by artist Hong Myung-hwa. Even the employees’ uniforms were designed by artists.

A total of 50 artists participated in the building’s creation and design.

Jung Woo-hyun, president and “Chief Love Officer” (as his business card states) of Mr. Pizza, said, “Mr. Pizza and Manoffin Gallery are open to anyone looking for a more personal approach to art. From a public art perspective, we hope the building will serve as a local gallery.”

*The exhibition “A Gift” runs until June 30 at Manoffin Gallery in Bangbae-dong, Seocho District, southern Seoul. Hours are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Go to Bangbae Station, line No. 2, exit No.1. For more, call (02) 521-4979.

By Yoo Sun-young Contributing writer [estyle@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [중알일보]
7m높이 사석원씨 대형 벽화, 피자회사 건물에 걸린 이유
신개념 기업미술관 내세운미스터피자 방배동 신사옥

가나아트센터와 미스터피자가 손잡고 벌이는 아트 마케팅, 아트 콜레보레이션(art collaboration)이 화제다. 미스터피자가 서울 방배동에 문을 여는 신사옥을 통해서다.

 신사옥의 이름은 미스터피자와 바우하우스를 결합한 ‘미피하우스’. 신개념 기업미술관이자 방배동의 새로운 랜드 마크를 표방한다. 건물 설계 단계부터 미술가들과 손을 잡고 미술품이 돋보이는 공간을 계획했다. 벽화에서 건물 외벽 등 구조물, 갤러리카페, 심지어 화장실과 테이크아웃 용기 포장에 이르기까지 미술작가들이 참여해 미술과 일상의 결합을 시도했다.

 우선 길거리에서도 볼 수 있는 윈도우 갤러리에는 화가 사석원의 7m높이 대형 벽화 ‘선물’이 설치됐다. ‘방배3동 작가’로 유명한 사석원의 당나귀 그림이다. 행인들도 볼 수 있다는 점에서 공공미술 성격을 띤다.

 서 작가는 “기업이 대중에게, 작가가 지역민에게 주는 선물과 같다는 뜻에서 제목을 ‘선물’로 지었다”고 말했다. 이번 벽화는 그 흔한 조수 한 명 없이 작가가 혼자 완성했다. “초대형 벽화는 처음인데다가 고소공포증이 있어 작업에 어려움이 많았다”고 했다.

 지하의 ‘마노핀갤러리’는 1년 내내 기획전시와 작품판매가 이뤄지는 갤러리카페다. 개관전으로 6월30일까지 ‘선물’전이 열린다. 요셉 보이스·쿠사마 야오이·요시모토 나라·백남준·최종태·김흥수·이대원·박항률 등의 소품이 벽면을 한 가득 채운다.

 다목적 공연장 ‘인송홀’에는 중국 작가 리진이 삼익피아노와 콜레보레이션한 아트피아노가 있다. ‘민이식위천(民以食为天·백성들에게 먹는다는 것은 하늘같이 귀한 일이다)’이란 작품이다. 흰 그랜드 피아노에 리진이 평소 먹고 싶은 음식을 그리고 그 음식 재료를 한문 손글씨로 적어 넣었다. 이 피아노는 실제 공연에도 사용된다.

 하명은 작가는 남녀 화장실 거울의 가장자리를 화려한 알루미늄 컷팅 장식으로 꾸몄다. 레스토랑에서 일하는 직원들의 유니폼, 종이컵 슬리브(뜨거운 음료를 마실 때 컵 끼우는 소품)에도 작가의 손길이 담겼다. 건물 외벽은 피자 토핑을 연상시키는 정재호 작가의 건물 파사드 디자인워크가 장식했다. 참여작가는 총 50명. 그 중에는 미스터피자의 아틀리에 후원 작가, 마노핀 신진작가 공모전 당선 작가 등이 포함됐다.
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