Korean Prints in the Sky

민경아 Min Kyeonah, 빈 물 항아리 (Empty Water Jar), 2009, 60x90cm, Linocut

Printmaking, 63Sky Art Museum Special Exhibition,
63 Building, Seoul South Korea
2014.07.12 – 11.30

I recently viewed an exhibition in one of the tallest buildings in South Korea: the Hanhwa 63 City, or the 63 Building as it is more often called. Housed on the 60th floor, the Sky Art Museum and Observation Deck offer phenomenal views of the city. The building provides an interesting context for art viewing because the artwork sometimes competes with the surrounding outlook. Most visitors ride the elevator up to look out over the city and are not necessary engaged with the artwork being shown. On the other hand, by placing the artwork on a literal gold-plated pedestal (the building is gold plated) in the heart of the city, one gets the sense that the work on display has validity to it. (This all presupposes the argument of a gallery’s legitimization of art.)

Keeping the venue in mind, this special exhibition has two goals in mind. The first is to provide the layman with an introduction to the four primary methods of fine art print production. The second goal is to provide a baseline for the Korean art market by placing images of modern Korean print artists alongside famous western artists.

Printmaking for Korean artists is often seen as a secondary pursuit only considered after an artist is already working in a more established medium such as painting or sculpture. (Kim 12) There are relatively few Korean artists working primarily within the printmaking field. The good news is the current print culture is continuing to work its way to a more prominent place alongside traditional mediums. This exhibition serves as a prime example of that march forward.

Expressly, this special exhibition is a re-introduction to the value of Korean printmaking, both for the entrenched Korean art market and to the public at large. The artists included in this show are established contemporary Korean printmakers displayed alongside household art names (Pablo Picasso, Jim Dine, Joan Miro, David Hockney, Andy Warhol) that have done print work. By placing these diverse works within the same gallery environment, the curator has determined to elevate the cultural (and literal) value of print work to the same level as more traditional mediums. In considering the venue, viewers find themselves positioned above the city. The surrounding city proclaims success. By extension the artwork commands attention and respect.

Kim, Jeong-Hwa. “The Analysis of Korean Contemporary Printmaking Arts.”

The exhibition consists of four sections each connected with a separate print process. The four main types of printing are represented: Relief, Intaglio, Planography (Lithography), and Stencil (Screenprinting). Another bonus area is the re-creation of a modern print studio.

Printshop Panorama

Print shop diorama at the exhibition.

Each section provides a wide range of technique within each method of printing. Although these specific variations remain unexplained to the layman, anyone versed in the processes is in for a delightful time exploring the nooks and crannies of the work. I look forward to seeing how Korean printmaking continues to develop in the future. If you find yourself in Seoul before the end of the November, this is a must see show.

Complete Artist List by Print Technique

Woodcut Etching Lithography Silkscreen
Kim Sang Ku Jang Young Sook Youn Myeung Ro Qwon Soon Wang
Bae Nam Kyung Kwon Kye Jeong Nam Cheon Woo Kim Hong Shik
Min Kyeonah Kim Young Hoon Park Ye Shin Pae Sung Hee
Jan Voss Chung Hee Kyung Lee Seo Mi Shin Su Jin
Jim Dine Joan Miro Marc Chagall Andy Warhol
Antoni Tapies Pablo Picasso Tom Wesslmann
Max Neumann David Hockney Keith Haring
Max Neumann

With that entire context in mind, here are just a few of many wonderful examples of contemporary Korean printmaking included in the exhibition.

김상구 Kim Sang Ku, No.985, No.987, and No. 989, 2010, 56x76cm, Woodcut

배남경 Bae Nam Kyung, 추석 (Chuseok), 2013, 165x121cm, Wood-Planography,

민경아 Min Kyeonah, 빈 물 항아리 (Empty Water Jar), 2009, 60x90cm, Linocut

김영훈 Kim Young Hoon, M 12 – 11, 2012, 85x65cm, Mezzotint

이서미 Lee Seo Mi, 높은곳 (High Place), 2012, 90.9x72.7cm, Monotype on Korean Paper

These small recreations of the process were one of the highlights of this exhibition for me. They did a good job demonstrating the print process with both physical objects, (mini-aluminum plate anyone?) and also by displaying prints of each step for each process. All in all it was very well done.

박예신 Park Ye Shin, 한하지 않는 날 (Uncommon Day), 2011, 60x92cm, Lithography

윤명로 Youn Myeung Ro, 익명의 땅 99-1002 and익명의 땅 99-1003 Anonymous Land 99-1002 Anonymous Land 99-1003, 1999, 62.5x86.5cm, Lithography

감홍식 Kim Hong Shik, 세븐 블라인드 맨 (3) Seven Blind Men (3), 2013-2014, 110x80cm, Mixed Media, Silk Screen on Stainless Steel

View of the Han River from the gallery.

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Categories: Exhibitions, Reviews

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