Get close to nature at Museum San’s new exhibit

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Get close to nature at Museum San’s new exhibit


“Towards” portrays the natural energy that the artist Kim Bo-hie felt when she worked in her studio on Jeju Island. The color green amplifies the vividness of nature on the 6-meter-wide (20-foot) canvas. [MUSEUM SAN]

Museum San in Wonju, Gangwon, is known as a museum which coexists with nature. Sitting just above a valley, the museum is surrounded by Mount Guryong.

With the start of spring, the special exhibition “Being in Nature” opened on March 18.

The exhibition seems appropriate in terms of what the museum tries to manifest. As the name San is a composite of three key words - space, art and nature - the artistic approach toward nature is well represented.

However, it is not the one-way perspective of a person viewing nature. It is the harmonious interaction with nature, which helps one understand the self better. By locating oneself within nature, visitors can perceive who they are and how they are interconnected to nature.

“The way of enjoying nature now is different to that of the past,” Oh Kwang-su, the director of the museum, said. “Before, we used to distance ourselves from nature. But now, it is time to go inside and be with nature.”

In particular, the five senses are emphasized in this exhibition, as the artworks on display are not confined to paintings but include photography and interactive installation pieces. Through touching, hearing and seeing, it is possible to achieve togetherness with nature.


The installation artwork “Cloud Pink,” made by Everyware, invites visitors to reach up and touch the fabric above to see how the color changes from blue to pink

One of the two installation artworks is “Sound Looking: Wind” done by Kim Ki-chul. The pentadecagon-shaped construction has speakers on each side that play seven different wind sounds, including sounds recorded in Changnyeong County, South Gyeongsang, and seaside wind in Seattle. When you stand at the middle, you are surrounded, wearing a headset and listening to the wind.

The other installation piece is “Cloud Pink” made by Everyware. In a long hallway, a tent-like roof, made out of swimsuit material, is installed, so that visitors can walk through and reach up to touch it. When your hand touches the material, the color, originally blue, changes to pink and swirls around, following the touch of your fingertips. It portrays the possible interaction between an individual and nature.

The other artworks are also significant in how they are displayed, such as how high or low the paintings are hung, and how dark or bright the exhibition hall is.

The artists have focused on how they view nature and reflected their perspectives to their artworks.

For example, artist Kim Bo-hie in her work “Towards” has expressed the vividness of the color green. Her experience working on Jeju Island influenced her to paint the energy and vigor of nature, which alludes to the world of paradise.


The installation piece “Sound Looking: Wind” by Kim Ki-chul combines seven different wind sounds. [MUSEUM SAN]

In addition, artist Lee Yun-jin focused on showing the delicacy of each subject in nature. “Circulation” portrays the subtle details of the trees that the artist has observed.

Artist Kim Ji-won painted “Mendrami,” which is a flower called cockscomb in English. He focused on the vitality of the movement of the flowers. The intense touch of his brush strokes shows the power that Kim felt from the environment.

Thus, visitors to the exhibit can feel and interact with the artists through the artworks, and think of their own perspectives toward nature as well.

Furthermore, a special event will be held once a month on Saturdays starting next month, for a total of four times. Select visitors, limited to 20 people in the order of arrival, can listen to the curator’s explanation of the artworks.


The painting “Mendrami” by Kim Ji-won shows the vivacity of the cockscomb flower. [MUSEUM SAN]

In addition, film cameras will be loaned out to visitors so they can take pictures of the surrounding nature, and later the museum will send the printed photos to their addresses.

“The photos will be able to capture the memories for people of how they felt nature at that specific moment of that day,” the curator, Jung Ji-Hye, explained.

Flowers blossom along the garden path from the entrance gate to the James Turrell exhibition hall. Along with the special exhibition, visitors can feel nature with all their senses, experiencing the structural harmony with nature that architect Tadao Ando intended with his design of the museum.

The special exhibition runs through Aug. 21. Museum San opens from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is closed on Mondays.

Admission is 28,000 won ($23.99) for adults and 18,000 won for children, including admission to the James Turrell hall. For details, visit or call (033) 730-9000.


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