[Weekender] A peek at upcycle art in Gwangmyeong
Published : Aug 30, 2019 - 10:06
Updated : Aug 30, 2019 - 10:06
The city of Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi Province, has the country’s first gallery dedicated to upcycling and runs programs for both artists and the general public.

The ongoing exhibition at the Gwangmyeong Upcycle Art Center has a child-friendly zoo theme: A tiger, an eagle and other wild animals have been recreated out of various waste materials. But the message isn’t just for kids.

“The ‘Upcycle Zoo’ exhibition intends to provoke thoughts about what’s happening on Earth, its ecosystem, more specifically the wild animals, because of human greed,” art center spokesperson Lee Hye-mi told The Korea Herald. 

Junk art toy series by Fori Sim made with parts from discarded electronics

TIMELESS TIME_buttoncovers’ by Lim Dong-wook using embroidered parts of hanbok dresses

Among the works on display are “Deer 2019” by Kim Woo-jin, made of scrap steel; “Primitive Eagle” by Jeong Chan-woo, made from discarded cutlery; and “Querencia,” a mixed-media work by Jeong Ui-ji in the shape of a mountain goat.

Kim is among 17 Korean upcycle artists invited to present their works at a German art exhibit in Leipzig in October this year, as part of the center’s “Korean Upcycle Art & Design Frontier” project.

Having opened in 2015 near the city’s top tourist attraction, Gwangmyeong Cave, the Gwangmyeong Upcycle Art Center was originally part of a municipal dump site before it was repurposed. 

‘Wheel’ by Jung Ji-eun of 2ndb using bicycle parts (Photos provided by Gwangmyeong Upcycle Art Center)

It has three artists in residence and offers various educational programs for children and adults. For more information, visit (Korean only).

The “Upcycle Zoo” exhibition will continue through Sept. 15, and admission is free.

By Lee Sun-young (