Your Seoul Exhibition Guide

What to see in April 2022

With new galleries opening in Seoul left and right, this month is no different! Lots to see with Lehmann Maupin making the move to Itaewon, Gladstone opening their first space in Cheongdam, and Pace expanding again, taking on street level in Hannam.

Sung Sikyung and Hyun Nahm at P21 Seoul

Sikyung Sung & Hyun Nahm Two Tu

For those looking for landscapes in the middle of Seoul 

Up by Gyeongnidan, the two person show at P21 features intensely melty, layered, and fragmented styles around the theme of empty space. On one hand, you have sculptor Hyun Nahm. You might recognize him from his show last year at Atelier Hermès. A bit like coral, his works are filled with holes and gaps, created out of an unpredictable process that then becomes an engaging experience for you to investigate all its nooks and crannies. On the other hand, you have painter Sung Sikyung, who transforms blank canvases into lush yet chaotic blankets of patterns and strokes. For both, their works emerge from finding the right balance in creating something out of nothing (and careful not to go overboard). With their colors and forms, we see them almost as deconstructed then reconstructed landscapes — albeit very abstract.

Don’t miss the sister show at Whistle gallery just down the street.

Exhibition Site

Friedrich Kunath at 313 Art Project Seoul

Friedrich Kunath Repair Is the Dream of a Broken Thing

For those who make memes about their troubles

In his made-up lands of California sunsets and German Romantic landscapes, Disney and other cartoon characters always seem to find themselves in a pickle. Either they are lost, or missing someone, or longing to be elsewhere. These one-of-a-kind crossovers marry Kunath’s intermingling ironic sense of humor and deep melancholic undercurrent. Like any ironic, sad mind, his canvases are intensely layered. Sparse lines of text articulate the sadness; thick impasto paint forms bulging rainbow arcs. The complexity has you swaying between existential dread and giggles, like a good meme.

Protip: make it an afternoon trip to the Seongbuk neighborhood with coffee at Ilsang, right down the street from 313. They serve  new specialty blends on the daily, and it’s a great place to process all the art you just saw.

Exhibition Site

Lari Pittman at Lehmann Maupin Seoul

Lari Pittman at Lehmann Maupin

Last chance — closes May 7!

Patterns on patterns, whimsical color schemes, and detail-dense canvases are the name of Pittman’s game. This show, titled Opaque, Translucent and Luminous, features works that hound on Pittman’s love for the decorative. Calligraphic, black contours and layers of translucent color give the appearance of stained glass, much to the resistance of the opaque canvases. This is signature Pittman, enthusiastically embracing decorative arts like stained glass to form dreamy and fantastical visions. Yet in all of their detail, their collage-like flatness makes you wish you could shrink ‘em and flick them around like playing cards. 

Btw, this is at Lehmann Maupin’s newly opened space in Itaewon. You might remember them from their previous Samcheong-area space, but this new one is three times larger and right in the heart of all the Itaewon / Hannam action.

Bending Light II at Pace Gallery Seoul

Bending Light II

For those craving the light of long summer days

Even though spring is rapidly approaching, we all know we’ll be traumatized by winter’s long, dark days until June. Good thing for us, then, that Pace is lighting up. Associated with the Light and Space movement of art, which *ahem* happened to originate from the always-sunny-SoCal, this show will feature several light-activated works by Peter Alexander, Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, James Turrell, Frank Eversley, and Helen Pashgian. Some may try to trip you out by playing with perception, others focus more on shifting color. Orbs, concavity, and sensorial experiments are the scientific locus of this show, and they’ll surely light up your life (literally)!

If you’ve already been to the newly expanded Pace, make another visit because this show is on view in yet another expansion. Now they’ve taken over the street level space where Jo Malone used to be.

Exhibition Site

Lee Keunmin at Space K

Lee Keunmin And then none were sick

For those with a mind for the monstrous

Frankenstein-ish tangles of flesh and bone bulge out of Lee Keunmin’s canvases. Like peering into an open surgery, you’ll find yourself feeling torn between horror and awe. These nightmarish paintings are born out of Lee’s affliction with borderline personality disorder, which endowed him with these grizzly hallucinations until starting proper treatment. Taking them as fodder for his work, Lee opens up the landscape of his mind in a redemptive effort to redefine himself beyond the label of his condition. Utterly vulnerable in their rawness and range of deformedness, Lee’s visions draw you in with tender and spontaneous smudges, formed with his latex-gloved hand.

Exhibition Site

Sabine Moritz at Gallery Hyundai

Sabine Moritz Raging Moon

For the free spirited and playful

Fields of flowers, luscious colorscapes. Moritz’s paintings invite you to come frolic (visually, that is). Like memories that fade in and out and flora that rustles in the wind, these paintings are constantly shifting. Moritz draws on her mental landscapes, creating scenes that teeter on abstraction. Finding inspiration in her early memories growing up in East Germany, Moritz colors even the most intense experiences of war and conflicting national identities with openness and curiosity. Take a few steps into her work and you’ll find yourself immediately energized with the movements of her brushwork. With spring on our minds, it’s a colorful tease of the new season approaching.

Exhibition Site

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