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What to see in Samcheong-dong galleries this week

July 3, 2022 - 17:30 By Park Yuna
“Seeing Sensitivity Flare,” by Olafur Eliasson at the PKM Gallery in Seoul (Courtesy of the artist and PKM Gallery)
If you want to see new art this week, visit the galleries of Samcheong-dong, a cozy and renowned neighborhood in central Seoul next to the main palace Gyeongbokgung.

New works by conceptual artist Olafur Eliasson, who plays with light and color, are on display at PKM Gallery. The gallery has a restaurant where one can grab some coffee or a meal before or after enjoying works. Right next to PKM Gallery is Barakat Contemporary, where the first solo exhibition by Berlin-based Nevin Aladag, who has presented a series of sound sculptures, is being held. Walking downhill, an exhibition by Korean documentary photographer Noh Sun-tag at Hakgojae Gallery explores the concept of the silhouette.

Icelandic and Danish artist Eliasson is best known for works that touch on human perception and explore the relationship between people and the environment. His newly created works this year at the solo exhibition at PKM Gallery “Olafur Eliasson: Inside the new blind spots” include watercolor paintings “Feeling Backward” and “Titles Are Desires in Slow Motion.”

“(Color) does not exist in itself and only materializes when light bounces off a surface onto our retinas, which shows us that the analysis of colors is, in fact, about the ability to analyze ourselves,” the artist has said, according to PKM Gallery.

“The artist did not make it to Seoul this time as he is practicing his own belief to reduce carbon dioxide produced by human activities. He is not traveling overseas this year,” said Park Kyung-mee, who heads the gallery.

Running through July 30, the exhibition includes glass installations of “Your Polyamorous Sphere” and “Seeing Sensitivity Flare.” The gallery’s cafe and restaurant, PKM Garden, is located inside the same building. 

“Session,” at the “Motion Lines” exhibition of Barakat Contemporary in Seoul (Barakat Contemporary)
Next to PKM Gallery is Barakat Contemporary where Berlin-based artist Aladag’s first solo exhibition in South Korea, “Motion Lines,” is being held until July 24. The artist, who is a native of Turkey and moved to Germany at a young age, interprets diverse cultural and political codes in a personal way.

The three-channel video work “Session” focuses on movements and sounds created by objects. She created the work in 2013 as part of an invitation to the 2013 Sharjah Biennial. Aladag observed how much of the economic workforce and cultural heritage in that society rested on the foundation of Pakistani, Indian, Iraqi, and African migrant communities. The instruments in the video are all traditional instruments of those migrants’ respective cultures, appearing there as social entities representing the city.

Aladag’s series of “Social Fabric,” “Jali” and “Pattern Kinship” reference and combine architectural styles, traditional patterns and animal footprints from different cultural origins across geographical boundaries, which are installed on the second floor of the gallery. 

An installation view of “Shades of Furs” at Hakgojae Gallery in Seoul (Hakgojae Gallery)
Just a few minutes by foot from Barakat Contemporary is Hakgojae Gallery, which hosts the first solo exhibition by documentary photographer Noh Sun-tag in 10 years at the commercial gallery. Titled “Shades of Furs,” the photography series was taken against the light to create the vivid image of the silhouette.

Noh is widely known for photographs that show contemporary Korean society, most famously the division of the Korean Peninsula. He won the Korean Artist Prize in 2014 hosted by The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea as the first photographer to win the award.

Some 19 photographs by Noh are on display at the gallery while 21 works are available on the online exhibition space “OROOM.” The photographs taken from 2015 to 2022 includes crows and flies in Kigali, Rwanda. The exhibition runs through July 17.