In between ink, shifting scenes of landscapes

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In between ink, shifting scenes of landscapes


Clockwise from left above: Park Ji-eun’s “Little Talk-Hong Kong,” now on display at Opera Gallery and Min Jung-ki’s “Pine Trees of Cheongnyeongpo” and Hwang Ji-yoon’s “Movement of the Landscape,” now exhibited at the Kumho Museum of Art, are contemporary artworks that embrace the tradition of East Asian landscape paintings. Provided by the galleries

Why do many artists still paint landscapes even though they can easily take photos of them? One of the most famous answers to that question came from renowned English artist David Hockney: humans see things through “the mind’s eye” and such images are different from those taken by cameras.

Hockney has also pointed out that the images taken by cameras and those of traditional Western paintings have only one viewpoint and one moment, showing interest in the seamless yet shifting viewpoints of old Chinese paintings.

For similar reasons, many Korean contemporary artists make landscape paintings with the qualities of sansuhwa, or traditional landscape paintings in ink that can be found in Korea, China and Japan.

Some of them are presented in “In Between,” a group show currently being held at the Kumho Museum of Art in the art zone east of Gyeongbok Palace in central Seoul.

Min Jung-ki, who is among the participating artists, shows landscape paintings in the Western material of oil on canvas but in a traditional East Asian style. His paintings show mountain valleys, streams and places from various viewpoints where important events in Korean history took place.

Hwang Ji-yoon’s paintings combine sansuhwa, 17th-century Dutch Golden Age landscapes and 19th-century romantic landscapes of Europe to create dreamy scenery.

The other participants include Kong Sung-hun, who was named the winner of the 2013 Korea Artist Prize by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, and Kim Chong-hak, who is one of the most favored veteran painters among local art collectors.

The contemporary artworks that embrace the tradition of old East Asian landscape paintings are also shown in the “All the Way from Korea” exhibition at Opera Gallery Korea. The Paris-based gallery’s Seoul branch is located on Dosandae-ro, a street in southern Seoul.

Among the five participants of the group show, Son Bong-chae presents “3-D paintings” that he created by drawing pine trees in an East Asian style on several bulletproof glass panels and overlapping them to make one painting. His works show the images of trees seen by the artist from several viewpoints and from several moments simultaneously.

Park Ji-eun’s paintings, illustrated by inked strokes using traditional calligraphy, shows the scenery of various cities that the artist has visited. Lee Lee-nam is a media artist and the other participants are among the Korean public’s most popular artists; Han Ho, who is gaining fame with his installation with light effects; and Jang Seung-hyo, who is well known for encompassing and combining various art genres, including sculpture, photography and video art.

The “In Between” exhibition runs until Feb. 9. Admission is 4,000 won ($3.75). Hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is closed on Mondays. For details, visit or call (02) 720-5114.

“All the Way from Korea” runs until Feb. 23. Admission is free. The gallery is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is closed on national holidays. Go to Apgujeong Station, line No. 3, exit 3 and walk for 15 minutes. For details, visit or call (02) 3446-0070.

BY Moon So-young []

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