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Plateau, Jung District

To Sunday: The solo show of Bae Young-whan is as good as the 43-year-old artist’s mid-career retrospective, as it features 26 works ranging from his early-stage “Pop Song” series to his latest installation pieces, including “Golden Ring - A Beautiful Hell.” His most well-known work among the general public “Song of Dionysus” is also on display.

The “Pop Song” series consists of white canvases on which the lyrics or scores of well-known Korean pop songs are formed with white pills and glue. These materials are frequently associated with neglected citizens who scratch out a living on the back streets, hidden from view.

Bae’s way of visualization in his works is varied, making it difficult to place him in one particular category. Creation of his “Pop Song” and “Song of Dionysus” required elaborate handicraft, and they make a strong visual impression. On the other hand, his latest two installation works - “Golden Ring - A Beautiful Hell” and “Anxiety - Seoul 5:30 p.m.” - which start and end his solo show, respectively, are more conceptual.

It is the themes rather than the style of his works that are more consistent. Bae often focuses on what he sees as society’s repressive and distressing realities.

Admission is 3,000 won ($2.64) for adults. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Tuesdays to Sundays and is closed on Mondays.

Go to City Hall Station, line No. 1 or 2, exit 8, and walk for five minutes.

1577-7595, www.plateau.or.kr


Sungkok Art Museum, Jongno District

To May 27: The solo show of sculptor Lee Jae-hyo features 300 works ranging from small sculptures made of scrap iron from Lee’s early days to his latest, large-scale installation works.

The latter works include a group of small stones that hang from the ceiling by wire, floating as if they were meant to form a bizarre tunnel in the air. The exhibits also include sculptures in various geometrical forms made of chopped wood chunks, which are in the signature style of the artist.

Some of the pieces, including a wooden sculpture that ambiguously resembles a table, stand on the border between sculpture and furniture. The artist, who has participated in art fairs and sculpture exhibitions along with design fairs, told reporters, “I don’t start my works with their utility in mind. Still, they can be used as furniture. The border between fine art and design is collapsing.”

Admission is 5,000 won for adults. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays to Sundays, except for Thursdays, when hours are extended to 8 p.m. It is closed on Mondays.

Go to Gwanghwamun Station, line No. 5, exit 7, and walk for five minutes.

(02) 737-7650, www.sungkokmuseum.org


Hakgojae, Jongno District

To June 10: The solo show of Noh Suntag is about remembering and forgetting the May 18 Gwangju democratization movement, and especially the people who died when it happened back in 1980.

The exhibits include a collection of black-and-white portraits, whose faded, damaged and distorted faces make for ghostly and haunting images. Noh created them by retaking funeral portraits put in front of the tombs of those who were killed during the May 18 movement.

The exhibition also includes photos of various landscapes and scenes related to the Gwangju democratization movement. It ends with photos of stone Buddhas lying in Unju Temple in Hwasun County, South Jeolla, and a man sleeping in a grass field of the temple whose pose resembles that of the Buddha.

The artist said he heard that many bereaved family members of the victims of the Gwangju massacre have visited the temple to seek consolation. They are attracted to the sculptures of reclining Buddhas because they remind the mourners of their family members lying dead on the streets. Statues of Buddha are quite unique, not only in Korea, but also anywhere in the world.

Admission is free. The show is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays, and it closes at 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Go to Anguk Station, line No. 3, exit 2, and walk for 10 minutes.

(02) 720-1524~6, www.hakgojae.com

Information is culled from the galleries and other online sources.
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