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What to expect in Korean art scene this year

By Park Yuna

Published : Jan. 8, 2024 - 21:12

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"In the Neighborhood of Seokgwangsa" by Hong Lee Hyun-sook (MMCA)

With museums and galleries announcing their exhibitions for the year, the issue of gender is getting attention at two major museums in the country.

The privately run Hoam Museum of Art will showcase “Women and Buddhism” in March, the largest-ever exhibition examining East Asian Buddhist art from a new perspective through the lens of gender. The exhibition will present masterworks of Buddhist art in cooperation with overseas art institutions.

“(The exhibition) will showcase the presence of women in the patronage and production of Buddhist art while exploring the meaning of female images represented in Buddhist art,” the museum noted on the upcoming exhibition.

"The Birth of Shakyamuni" from the 15th century (Hongakuji Temple)

MMCA will shed light on Asia’s leading and emerging artists from the 1960s to today, including Hong Lee Hyun-sook, Pacita Abad and Aki Sakamoto. The exhibition, “Connection Bodies: Asian Women Artists,” will kick off in September at the Seoul venue.

The Leeum Museum of Art will unveil two major solo exhibitions this year.

A major solo exhibition of French artist Philippe Parreno will open Feb. 28, running through July 7. The exhibition, which will feature artificial intelligence and data sequencing, aims to expand perceptions on how to view and experience art and exhibitions, according to the museum.

Installation view of Installation view of "My Room Is Another Fish Bowl" by Philippe Parreno (Esther Schipper)

“Recognized as one of the most influential figures of the international art world, Philippe Parreno takes the ‘exhibition’ as an artistic medium, exploring the expansive possibilities of the exhibition experience as a mode of communication capable of transcending language,” the museum noted on the exhibition.

Korean American artist Anicka Yi’s solo exhibition, running from September to December, will mark the artist’s first solo exhibition at an Asian museum. The exhibition is organized in conjunction with the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing.

There will be more of Yi's works at SongEun Art Space when it showcases the Pinault Collection in August. More than 60 works will be presented, including by Yi as well as Vietnamese artist Danh Vo. The Pinault Collection, assembled by French businessperson Francois Pinault, is a collection of around 10,000 modern and contemporary works of art across generations and genres.

"A Pair of High Heels" by Gim Hong-sok (Gim Hong-sok)

The Seoul Museum of Art has included architecture in its plan for the year with the solo exhibition of Pritzker-winning architect Norman Foster in April. The exhibition will focus on how public architecture can be built and function better through the English architect's projects.

The city museum plans to show the solo exhibition of Korean artist Kim Sung-hwan, who is based in Hawaii, as the final exhibition of the year in December.

Pace Gallery in Hannam-dong in Seoul will present the Korean Artists Group Show in February. The gallery will showcase works by American conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner in November on the heels of the artist’s large-scale solo exhibition at the Amorepacific Museum of Art, which is on view until Jan. 28.

Kukje Gallery in Seoul's Samcheong-dong unveiled its plan for the new year, focusing both on Korean and international artists. The gallery will start the new year with a solo exhibition of Korean artist Gim Hong-sok in February. Gim's works break preconceptions of art through witty installations and sculptures. In September, the gallery will present works by Korean artist Ham Kyung-ah. International artists to show this year include German photographer Candida Hofer and American video artist Bill Viola.

An installation image shows An installation image shows "Mauve Twilight" by Nicolas Party at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. His works will be featured at Hoam Museum of Art in September. (Nicolas Party)

Perrotin Gallery in Seoul will showcase the gallery’s first-ever exhibition of Korean artist Lee Sang-nam from Jan. 25 to March 16, which will be followed by exhibitions by German contemporary artist Gregor Hildebrandt in May and French abstract painter Georges Mathieu in July.

In tribute to Korea's art master Kim Tschang-yeul, famously known for his paintings of water drops, Gallery Hyundai will hold a retrospective of the artist in May, marking the third anniversary of his death in 2021.

The art calendar is expected to be full around the time of the third edition of Frieze Seoul, which takes place in September at Coex in Seoul, coinciding with Kiaf Seoul, Korea's largest art fair. The two art fairs are expected to bring together some 330 galleries from across the world.