SEOGWIPO, Jeju Island -- The first museum dedicated to Korea’s leading contemporary artist, Park Seo-bo, will be built on Jeju Island. The museum is set to open in summer 2024 on a site next to JW Marriot Jeju Resort and Spa.
“I was very delighted when I was presented with the offer of building a museum (by JW Marriot Jeju Resort and Spa). I had been wishing to found my own museum during my lifetime,” Park said at the press conference held on Tuesday at JW Marriot Jeju Resort and Spa.
Designed by Spanish architect Fernando Menis, about 80 percent of the museum will be underground and constructed from a new type of concrete called Picado, invented by the architect. Menis will use a mixture of concrete and basalt, a type of volcanic rock that is widely found on the island, the architect said at the press conference.
The three-story building, situated on a 12,137-square-meter site northwest of the JW Marriott Jeju Resort and Spa hotel, is expected to open to the public this summer. The five-star hotel is located near Seogwipo City’s columnar joints, craggy cliffs along Jeju's Daepo coastline formed by volcanic pillars.
Born in 1931, Park was one of the founders of the Dansaekhwa or "monochrome painting" movement. The art genre includes the work of a wide range of artists beginning in the mid 1970s who saw art production as a method of meditative self-discipline. Dansaekhwa is known internationally as an abstract art movement unique to Korea, and is recognized as a leader in the Korean contemporary art scene.
Park, recently diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer, said he was shocked and felt like the “sky was collapsing” when he learned the news, as he still has many things to do and paint. However, he made up his mind to “consider the cancer as a friend and live with it.”
“I am really good at giving up on things (and accepting the reality). It was really hard to accept the fact for a couple of days, but now I have even forgotten that I am a cancer patient. I decided to get along with it because I would not be able to paint if I go through a treatment to cure the disease,” he said.
Park added that he had been pushing to build a museum in his hometown in Yecheon County, North Gyeongsang Province. The plan, announced in 2020 by the county office, however, foundered recently due to administrative issues.
“I hope my art helps heal people who have hard feelings deep inside their minds. That is one of the reasons I paint,” Park said.
The museum, tentatively named the Park Seo-bo Museum, will be operated by GIZI Foundation, a non-profit foundation established by the artist in 2019 to manage Park’s artwork and archives.