Seeing love’s ups and downs with cinematic inspiration

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Seeing love’s ups and downs with cinematic inspiration


Shonjeungeun’s installation and photography “The Easter Boys”(2011) is part of the “Love Actually” exhibition going on at Seoul Museum in central Seoul. Provided by the museum

People say love is bittersweet, and a new exhibition tells of the good and the bad at Seoul Museum in Buam-dong, central Seoul.

“Love Actually” starts with American pop artist Robert Indiana’s famous “Love” sculpture, with well-known kiss scenes from films hanging on the wall behind it, and ends with surrealist master Salvador Dali’s (1904-1989) “Mae West Lips Sofa,” where couples are encouraged to kiss and be photographed.

Between the two, about 30 pieces encompassing paintings, photography, installations and video art are displayed under six themes ranging from “Boy Meets Girl” about innocent first love to “Crazy Love Song” about perverse love.


Kim Sung-jin’s oil painting “Relax” (2010), is part of the “Love Actually” exhibition going on at Seoul Museum in central Seoul. Provided by the museum

Some works are easily and immediately associated with love, but others are not. As for the latter, some words printed on the wall help viewers see the association. They are quotes from well-known Korean and foreign movies. As the exhibition has borrowed its title from the British romantic comedy film, it is deeply related to films.

“Each work on display is paired up with a movie quote about love,” explained Yi Joo-heon, the museum director and an art critic. “Our museum’s six curators each worked with one theme about love and selected art that they think matches with impressive quotes about love from movies.”

For example, Korean artist Shonjeungeun’s “The Easter Boys” (2011), which consists of a hot pink bed, a tree of pink blossoms and a series of photos showing young men bandaged with flower branches, is paired up with “me and you, just us two,” a line by Carrie Bradshaw from the American movie “Sex and the City 2” (2010).

In this context, the work tells of overcoming an unequal power relationship in a couple, Yi explained.

The match of British artist Damien Hirst’s “Untitled” (2000) and a line from the Hong Kong film “In the Mood for Love” (2000) is easier to understand.

Hirst’s work looks likes a big Valentine’s Day card with its pink color and heart shape. But it is creepy as it has the dead bodies of real butterflies on it.


Salvador Dali’s “Mae West Lips Sofa” ends the exhibition.

The paired movie quote tells of the emptiness in the heart after love ends.

“This exhibition does not give an analysis of art based on art history or art theory but allows viewers to approach them emotionally based on feelings that they had or would have when seeing the related movies,” Yi said.

The exhibition runs through June 16. Admission is 10,000 won ($8.92) for adults and covers admission to Seokpajeong, a hanok (traditional Korean house) that was once the summer residence of King Gojong’s father and is located behind the museum. The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday. Take bus No. 1020, 1711, 7016, 7018, 7022 or 7212 to the Jahamun Tunnel stop.

For more information, call (02) 395-0100 or visit

By Moon So-young []
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