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[What to see] Galleries in Samcheong-dong in full bloom

March 30, 2024 - 16:02 By Park Yuna

Spring has come to Samcheongdong, where the cherry blossoms are just about to bloom. This is a perfect time to stroll around the neighborhood of galleries: Kukje Gallery, Hakgojae Gallery and Barakat Contemporary, to name but a few, which are all located within close walking distance of each other.

Kim Yun-shin speaks about her sculpture series "Add Two Add One, Divide Two Divide One" to the press on March 19. (Park Yuna/The Korea Herald)

Pioneering 89-year-old sculptor with chainsaw at Kukje Gallery

Korean sculptor Kim Yun-shin has grabbed recognition at home and abroad at the age of 89. Kim has been working on "Add Two Add One, Divide Two Divide One" -- currently on view at Kukje Gallery -- since the mid-1970s. Based on the concepts of yin and yang, the phrase refers to the interconnected dialectics of addition and integration (yang) and division and fragmentation (yin).

After Kim relocated to Buenos Aires in 1984, captivated by the landscapes of Argentina, she forged a path as the first-generation contemporary woman sculptor. The exhibition opened on March 19, two months after the gallery announced that it was representing the artist. Kim has been invited to this year's Venice Biennale opening in April.

Asked recently about what the artist thinks about art, she said. “In a nutshell, art has no ending. There is no such thing as completion in art, which is similar to our life.” Kim still creates wooden sculptures with a chainsaw.

An installation view of "W3" by Paik Nam-june at Hakgojae Gallery in Seoul (Park Yuna/The Korea Herald)

Paik Nam-june, Yun Suk-nam and Kim Gil-hu at Hakgojae Gallery

Neighboring Kukje Gallery, Hakgojae Gallery is presenting an exhibition that sheds light on the legacy of video art pioneer Paik Nam-june whose works “W3," composed of 64 TV monitors, “Sfera/Punto Elettronico(Ball/Point Electro),” which honors the value of global harmony after the end of the Cold War, and his drawing and collage works, are on display.

An installation view of “1,025: With or Without Person” by Yun Suk-nam at Hakgojae Gallery in Seoul (Park Yuna/The Korea Herald)

The “Ham:Sentient Beings” exhibition introduces three artists – Korean sculptor Yun Suk-nam, painter Kim Gil-hu and Paik. Yun carved the silhouettes of abandoned dogs into discarded trees and completed their portraits with ink in her wooden sculptural work “1,025: With or Without Person,” which resonates with the artist’s intention calling for the harmony of humans and animals.

Kim Gil-hu seeks to pursue a new form of painting that features strong brush touches. His acrylic paintings give off a powerful vibe, drawing the viewers to step closer and stare at the paintings for a while.

An installation view of "Today will take care of tomorrow" at Barakat Contemporary in Seoul (Courtesy of the gallery)

Thai-born artist Pratchaya Phinthong at Barakat Contemporary

At his first solo exhibition in Seoul, “Today will take care of tomorrow,” running at Barakat Contemporary, Thai artist Pratchaya Phinthong – whose works integrate heterogeneous social, economic and geopolitical systems into constructive yet open-ended friction – showcases works created since 2012.

Primarily through extensive traveling and dialogues -- from southern Africa to the South Pacific Ocean --Phinthong finds and gathers materials and narratives for his art projects, creating both ironic juxtaposition and fateful harmony.

The exhibition includes his new works “The Organ of Destiny(Assembly)” and “A Little of Everything and Nothing at All (Cheorwon and Sarang),” created after he traveled to Korea's Demilitarized Zone, commissioned by Barakat Contemporary. The exhibition ends May 26.