Extensive shows heading to Seoul for winter break

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Extensive shows heading to Seoul for winter break

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Vincent Van Gogh’s painting “Langlois Bridge” will be on display in the exhibition “Impressionist Landscape.” [HANKOOK ILBO CULTURAL PROJECT CENTER]

In Seoul, large-scale exhibitions that feature collections loaned by famous foreign museums or foreign artists familiar to the general public, such as the French Impressionists, tend to take place during summer and winter vacation seasons. This is because their main targets are young students and their parents, organizers say.

And this winter is no exception. Four such exhibitions recently started or will begin soon, coincidentally all at the Seoul Arts Center in Seocho District, southern Seoul.

Impressionist Landscape

The exhibition features 70 paintings by about 40 artists from the 19th to early 20th centuries across Europe. The exhibited works are from the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne, Germany, and are all examples of Impressionist landscape painting.

The exhibition was curated by Seo Soun-jou, a specialist in Impressionism who previously organized individual exhibitions on painters like Claude Monet and Paul Gauguin.

“Impressionist painting is a favorite of many people, so I wanted to create a space to bring all the works of these key figures together in one place in order to test our knowledge of and love of Impressionism,” Seo explained Dec. 1 at a press conference.

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A photograph taken by James P. Blair is as part of National Geographic’s exhibition “World of Mystery.” [ENV COMMUNICATIONS]

“Impressionist Landscape” chronicles the birth, development and lasting effects of Impressionism. The first few sections feature well-known French Impressionists including Auguste Renoir, and Camille Pisarro; Post-Impressionists such as Paul Cezanne and Vincent van Gogh; and Neo-Impressionists like Geroges Seurat and Paul Signac.

The last section, “German Impressionism,” features works by Lovis Corinth, Max Libermann and others whose style, which often had a much darker tone, is radically different from earlier Impressionism. But when juxtaposed with their predecessors, one can discern the influence of original Impressionism, while observing how the artists redefined the movement in their own terms, Seo explained.

“Since landscape paintings from German Impressionism have not been well-regarded before, this is a chance to study them properly and learn of their relevance,” he added.

The exhibition has an educational purpose, Seo continued, as it aims to illustrate the history and significance of Impressionism through the lens of landscape painting.

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A skull coated with plaster that is about 8,000 years old is the oldest artifact to be featured in the British Museum’s exhibition “Human Image.” [BRITISH MUSEUM AND NATIONAL MUSEUMS FOUNDATION OF VENEZUELA]

“Though Impressionists practiced other modes of painting like still life and portraits, landscape painting proved to be the most challenging one,” Seo said, quoting German painter Max Libermann as saying, “Through landscape painting one can truly validate one’s talent as an artist.”

The show runs from Dec. 19 to Apr. 3. Admission is 15,000 won ($12.84) for adults. For more information, go to www.impressionism.kr or call (02) 1588-2618.


Human Image -- The British Museum Collections

The exhibition explores the many ways that humans have been depicted in the arts, from different centuries, regions and cultures, from the collection loaned by the British Museum. It features 176 pieces of art and artifacts.

The museum’s curator, Brendan Moore, said in a press release the various sections of the exhibition serve as different vantage points for approaching these inquiries.

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British artist Francis Bacon’s oil painting “Figure at a Washbasin” is part of the ongoing “Picasso to Francis Bacon” exhibition. [[BRITISH MUSEUM AND NATIONAL MUSEUMS FOUNDATION OF VENEZUELA]]

The “Ideal Beauty” section centers on the universal quest to define human beauty and, paradoxically, the breadth and fluidity of the definition; “The Body Divine” is devoted to different cultures and religions that use and elevate the human body as a means of deifying or humanizing divine figures; and “Relationships” explores different forms of connections created among people and their universal essence in the lives of humans.

As the exhibition’s scope is vast in terms of time and location, it features a wide range of objects, such as a skull coated with plaster that is about 8,000 years old - the oldest relic from the museum’s collection - and artifacts from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome.

“In particular, from the Egyptian collections, 13 items are showcased in the exhibition. These include a mummy case, a statue of the Egyptian goddess Isis, Amun and more,” the museum said. In addition to these objects, the exhibition includes an array of paintings and initial sketches by Rembrandt, Durer, Matisse and Picasso.

The show runs from Friday to Mar. 20. Admission is 15,000 won for adults. For details, go to www.humanimage.co.kr or call (02) 724-6321.

World of Mystery

After a successful exhibition in 2012, the National Geographic is returning to Seoul with a large photo exhibit.

Similar to “Human Image,” this exhibition provides an overview of the history of civilization, but focuses on the journeys and adventures that have led to space and ocean discoveries, according to organizer ENV Communications. The collection, devoted to photographic records of such discoveries, consists of 200 items, including an exclusive display of the submersible craft used by National Geographic’s explorer-in-residence Sylvia Earle.

In its five sections, the exhibition aims to enlighten visitors about the vast range of life-changing discoveries and provoke them to think of the future possibilities, the museum said.

There is also a special collection titled “The Deep Sea Challenge.” Based on the project led by director and explorer-in-residence James Cameron (“Titantic” and “Avatar”), it provides an in-depth look at the record-breaking dive into the Earth’s deepest point, the Mariana Trench.

The exhibition runs from Saturday to Mar. 20. Admission is 13,000 for adults. For more information, call (02) 6263-2621.

Picasso to Francis Bacon

This exhibition features 100 works by 20 masters of modern and contemporary art, including Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Marcel Duchamp and Marc Chagall, from the collection of Venezuela’s National Museums Foundation.

Among the highlights are Pablo Picasso’s 1941 portrait of his lover Dora Maar in oil, “Buste de Femme,” and the Spanish artist’s 1945 lithograph series “El Toro (The Bull).” The other must-sees include Francis Bacon’s 1976 oil painting “Figure at a Washbasin,” which depicts a distorted human body in the British artist’s signature style.

The exhibition runs through March 1. Admission is 13,000 won for adults. For details, call (02) 580-1300 or visit www.sac.or.kr.

BY YOON HAY-SUNG And MOON SO-YOUNG [estyle@joongang.co.kr]

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