Modern Art Exhibitions

Shirin Neshat's Book of Kings Exhibit Shirin Neshat's Book of Kings Exhibit Photos courtesy of the National Museum of Modern and Contempary Art

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

By Elena Encarnacion

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is hosting a number of temporary exhibitions this summer. The artists on display are varied from Korean, to international, as well as hot new up-and-coming artists, to artists with long and illustrious careers. It is the objective of MMCA to provide a retrospective of the tradition of modern art as well as the new trends of today. The museum has three branches: Gwacheon, Seoul and Deoksugung. Each branch is closed on Monday. The Gwacheon location is family friendly as it has a children’s gallery.

“Architecture of the Wind,” shows the unity of architecture and art. It is a collection of architecture, paintings, calligraphy and artifacts of the life of Itami Jun, whose works span 40 years. His early works were created in Japan, but he eventually drifted over to Korea, with some of his best well known work being on Jeju Island, reflecting the way in which the ocean embraces the land. His philosophy towards art and architecture can be summed up in his words: “How will you perceive the tradition, context and essence of a region and how will that be conveyed in a building that is to be created? The important thing is to listen to the language spoken by the topography of the land and the voice of the wind.” This exhibition is on display from 2014 January 18 to 2014 July 27 at MMCA: Gwacheon.

Cho Phyung-Hwi’s exhibit, “Cloud and Mountain” can be viewed from 2014 March 25 until 2014 July 6 at MMCA: Gwacheon as well. It is the first exhibition in the Korean Contemporary Artists’ Series. Cho, who graduated from Hongik University, was described as having a style defined as abstract expressionism early in his career; but in the mid 1970’s, his work experienced a retrogressive movement and he then became famous for his grand-view landscape style. Another exhibition shown at MMCA: Gwacheon is by sculptor Choi Man Lin, from 2014 April 18 to 2014 July 6. It is the first sculpture exhibition featured in the Korean Contemporary Artists’ Series, and is the largest retrospective ever shown of Choi’s work, showing 200 examples of his work. His themes focus on life, origin, self-introspection and the identity of Korean sculpture.

MMCA: Seoul’s first exhibition of the year will be a mid-career exhibition of 20 years of work by Iranian artist, Shirin Neshat. Visitors will have the opportunity to view nine video installments and two photography series. The exhibition is part of the MMCA Asia Project that’s goal is to contribute to a global network of art museums. This exhibition will be on hand from 2014 April 1 until 2014 July 13.

Jesper Just’s, “This is a Landscape of Desire,” will be on display from 2014 April 19 to 2014 August 3. It will show 13 works of the artist created over the last decade. Just’s work, which was featured at the Venice Biennale in 2013, focused at male as a subject at the beginning of his career, but six years ago, his focus turned to the female. The exhibition was chosen as part of a tribute to the 55 years of diplomatic ties between Korea and Denmark.

“Then and Now: Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the National Academy of Arts of the Republic of Korea,” is an exhibition at MMCA: Deoksugung. It is a collection of work from the members of the Academy’s Fine Arts Division. The NAA’s members are artist citizens of Korea whose art careers have spanned 30 years or greater. The exhibition is designed to be a retrospective to Korean art as well as the history of the NAA showing from 2014 April 17 to 2014 July 27.

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