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'Mission possible' in Seoul: Enjoy contemporary art at 10 p.m.

All Headlines 18:13 May 19, 2017

By Woo Jae-yeon

SEOUL, May 19 (Yonhap) -- Seoul is a pulsating city with lots to see and experience. And it has added yet another reason for people to explore the city, especially at night.

The K Museum of Contemporary Art, which opened last December, has became the first museum in Korea that runs as late as 11 p.m.

"I thought enjoying art should feel as easy as going to the cinema," said Kim Yeon-jin, director of K Museum, during an interview with Yonhap News Agency Friday.

She opened the museum in Sinsa-dong, an area mostly known for its shopping and food scene in southern Seoul, not necessarily for high art and sophisticated culture. She chose the location because it is only a few minutes from the nearby subway station with a lot of foot traffic from office workers who she thought might need some solace in art.

On Friday, the museum unveiled the next -- and the last -- lineup of its current exhibition, "Everyone is an Artist and Everything is Art," with two Korean artists Gwon O-sang and Dongi. They are credited for lowering the high bar that art laymen may feel contemporary art has, explained the museum.

Exploring new materials and formats in sculpture, Gwon pushes the boundaries of sculpture and photography. In his signature artwork "Deodorant Type," he creates a Styrofoam sculpture covered with thousands of photo images.

Best known for "Atomouse," a character that combines Atom from Japanese animation and Mickey Mouse from Disney's, Lee tries to redefine fine art by borrowing images from mass media and culture and putting what has been considered low art on par with high art by reenacting pop culture in a traditional painting.

This photo, provided by the K Museum of Contemporary Art on May 19, 2017, shows "Tape Seoul" by Numen/For Use installed in the lobby of the museum. (Yonhap)

The selection of the two artists and the display of their artwork in an unconventional way are meant to make visitors feel more comfortable with contemporary art, said the director.

"I've intentionally destroyed the tension among art pieces on display even though it might not be the most sophisticated way of displaying artwork," she said.

Indeed, some of the paintings are hung above others, a display rarely seen in traditional art museums.

"In most museums, artwork is sacred. You aren't supposed to touch it. You should feel the work is something special. I wanted to twist conventional wisdom and make people feel at ease in enjoying artwork and the museum environment."

In Part 1 of the exhibition, Numen/For Use, a globally well-known conceptual and installation artist group, has created "Tape Seoul," a giant participatory structure made entirely out of clear plastic tape. Visitors can even crawl inside the gigantic suspended structure still installed in the six-meter-high lobby.

"The work is meant to have direct contact with visitors. Only when people go inside and feel it does it become a meaningful art piece," she said.

The exhibition runs until Sept. 1.

This image, taken from the Web site of South Korean artist Gwon O-sang on May 19, 2017, shows "Reclining Man Drinking," one of his "Deodorant Type" series. (Yonhap)


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