Exhibits the whole family can enjoy

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Exhibits the whole family can enjoy


While all the paintings at the “2011 Trick Art Seoul Exhibition” are flat, they look 3-D thanks to an art technique called trompe l’oeil.

Museums and art exhibitions are usually not child friendly. Rules like “Do not touch” and “No photos” can be difficult for impulsive little art lovers to follow.

But in honor of this month’s Children’s Day and Parents’ Day, several unorthodox exhibits are being held that can be fun for the whole family.

The “2011 Trick Art Seoul Exhibition,” which was first held on Jeju Island in 2007, is currently being held in Seoul. The exhibit has gained a huge following among families because of its quirky paintings that appeal to children.

The optical illusions presented in many paintings, including parody versions of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and Vincent van Gogh’s “Self Portrait,” are entertaining for visitors.

All the works at the exhibition are painted using an art technique called trompe l’oeil, which makes two-dimensional paintings look as if they are three dimensional.

For example, in one artwork depicting a person painting Mona Lisa, it appears as if the painter’s palette pops out of the frame. In another parody painting of Rembrandt’s “The Prodigal Son in the Tavern,” the prodigal son holds a jug of beer and the beer appears to overflow from the jug onto the floor of the exhibition hall.

Exhibition organizers recommend that visitors learn about the paintings parodied in the exhibit before coming so that they can compare the originals with their more zany doubles.

Young visitors will especially love the exhibition’s animal gallery, which features huge paintings of animals such as giraffes and dolphins.

Unlike traditional art galleries, the organizers of the trick art exhibition encourage visitors to take lots of photos. Exhibit personnel spread throughout the galleries are even willing to take photos of the whole family next to their favorite paintings.


Animals come in different shapes and sizes at the “Hello Safari” exhibition. Pictured is a zone in the exhibition with life-size stuffed animal toys. Provided by the organizers

For animal-loving families, Hello Museum is presenting “Hello Safari.” From exotic animal paintings by French artist Henri Rousseau to contemporary art and media installations by Korean artists, animals jump to life in this exhibit.

For example, Korean artist Moon Byung-doo’s installations show how simple wires and stainless steel can be transformed into a magnificent elephant head.

The most popular section is the “Zoo Playground” where more than a dozen life-size animal toys manufactured by Hansa Toy are installed. These animals are beautifully crafted and hold as much detail in their bodies as real animals.

Children are able to climb up on the toys and take photos with them. Like a real safari tour at the zoo, a small number of children are put in a team to explore the four different sections. Thus, reservations are required in advance.

Seoul Museum of Art’s yearly outdoor exhibition also returns this month. Every May - which marks the month of the family - the museum throws an outdoor exhibition in the garden of the museum, which is dotted with flowering trees in full blossom. SeMA’s outdoor exhibition is popular for its whimsical sculptures that provoke children’s imaginations.

“Since most of the exhibition visitors are families, we try to choose themes that are not that difficult,” said Jung Hyo-im, curator at the museum.

This year’s outdoor exhibition is titled “Emergency Landing, Unfamiliar Scenes.”

“I hope you get the impression that the garden is dominated by weird creatures and machines,” added Jung. “In a word, it is a science fiction theme this year.”

In addition to these ongoing exhibitions, there are several special one-time art events that are being held in honor of Children’s Day, including SeMA’s free magic show tomorrow beginning at 1 p.m.

The National Museum of Contemporary Art, located in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi, will also host a free classical concert tomorrow. During the concert, famous paintings that match the feeling behind the music will be presented.

While tickets are sold out online, the concert organizers will make 200 seats available to visitors tomorrow on a first-come-first-served basis. The concert begins at 3 p.m.

*The “2011 Trick Art Seoul Exhibition” runs through June 26 on the sixth floor of Techno Mart in Sindorim, eastern Seoul. Admission is 12,000 won ($11.30). For more information, visit http://mbctrickart.com/seoul/main.html or call 1566-1369.

“Hello Safari” runs through May 29 at the Seongnam Arts Center in Bundang, Gyeonggi. Tickets for children are 15,000 won and adult tickets are 10,000 won. For more information, visit www.hellosafari.com or call (02) 562-4420.

“Emergency Landing, Unfamiliar Scenes” runs through June 14 at the Seoul Museum of Art in Seosomun-dong, Jung District, central Seoul. The magic show will be held on May 5 at 1 p.m. Both events are free of charge. For more information, visit seoulmoa.seoul.go.kr/global/main.jsp?sLangCode=02 or call (02) 120.

The classical concert will be held on May 5 at 3 p.m. in the Grand Hall of the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi. The concert is free of charge. For more information, visit http://www.moca.go.kr/engN/ or call (02) 2188-6228.

By Sung So-young [so@joongang.co.kr]
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