We can appreciate the works of countless artists and designers at the exhibition. Each of them has different artistic values, and the stories in their works are so diverse that we need to know those stories before appreciating them. However, here is an exhibition that contains interesting stories, not just in its works of art, but also in the exhibition itself. It is Arario Museum in Space. Also, unlike exhibitions that usually have one narrow theme, the exhibition features the comprehensive theme of ‘modern art.’ CAH visited Arario Museum in Space, which tells a lot of stories in different ways, from the exhibition venue to the works inside.
1. History of Arario Museum in Space
Arario Museum in Space, which is currently operating as an art museum, was originally called Space office(空間, SPACE). The building was designed by famous Korean architect Kim Soo-geun. He designed his own brick building, which soon earned the reputation of being the symbol of Korean buildings. However, the space office suffered from financial difficulties and soon lost its owner. Then, the building was bought by Kim Chang-il, the current chairman of the Arario Group. He said that he recognized the cultural value of the building itself, and would keep that value as much as possible. Under his plan, the building is now used as an exhibition of his modern art collection.
2. Modern Art in Arario Museum
a. Baek Nam-jun
Baek Nam-jun, a pioneer of video art, attempted to express art in a new way through electric media. Through his work ‘TV cello’, he depicted the cello using three televisions. In addition, in ‘Hydra Buddha’, he made his own bronze mask.
b. Leslie de Chavez
He expressed the suffering of Filipinos living in the same era through his work. ‘Street Punks’ shows young people’s resistance to the established system, and ‘Under the Belly of the Beast’ shows the history of the Philippines as a colony by placing slums and logos of global businesses under the belly of the man hanging upside down. The artist also revealed atrocities committed by Islamic terrorist groups in the Philippines through ‘Approximating Fear’ and ‘Approximating Terror’.
c. George Condo
George Condo is well known as a portrait painter who makes artificial figures by reconstructing various pieces of figures. The three characters in his work ‘The Arrivals’ look funny in their appearance, but if you take a closer look, you can see the grotesque shape. It is a representation of a modern man whose soul is broken and twisted.
d. Li Qing
Li Qing created his own new museum inside Arario Museum. The exact reproduction of his workspace and living space gives us a glimpse of what he concerned about. It is natural to mistake it for the interior of the original Arario Museum, which was actually used as a work space too.
e. Marc Quinn
Marc Quinn is the leading member of YBAs (Young British Artist). In his work, he revealed his constant questioning and agonizing over everything about human: their spirit, evolution, growth, life, and death. One of his work displayed at the Arario Museum, ‘Self’ is his own head made using 4.5 liters of his own blood. What message did he try to convey through his own image?
f. Noh Sang-ho
His works are very messy and confusing, making it difficult for us to understand what they mean at first. However, if you look closely at his messy works, you can clearly see that there are small paintings in them. It represents an online world where enormous amounts of information and images are flowing rapidly. It is also a criticism of modern people who are mired in such an online world and indiscriminately accept that information.
3. Arario Museum as Artwork
The Arario Museum in Space was built by famous architect Kim Soo-geun, and the beauty of the building is already widely known to many people. Therefore, the building itself is a work of art. The building is covered in green in summer, and red in autumn, so you can recognize it even in a far distance. Also, this building is located between beautiful Korean cultural constructions, so you can feel the traditional beauty of Korea. Although the interior space is not large, the area of use was allocated efficiently by introducing the structure of Hanok. Moreover, the interconnecting staircases are reminiscent of a maze. There are 162 pieces of work by several famous artists and this can cause confusion in the identification and understanding of works. However, people can appreciate them without much difficulty since the atmosphere is created to suit each piece. Like this, the interior of the building is not as spacious as other exhibition halls. We can see that the exhibition is a well-deserved display of the beauty of the building, which has not abandoned its own beauty. The Arario Museum in Space can be recognized as a single piece of artwork.
It is not easy for many people to understand modern art because we need to know the background and values of the artists beforehand. However, you can understand the meaning of each piece only by reading the story of the author and appreciating the work. Arario Museum in Space provides this very well, and this makes people get one step closer to modern art after visiting the exhibition. Though it was an exhibition of one’s collection, it showed a great structure and numerous works displayed made people think of many subjects. Since art is one of the tools for communication, the exhibition seems to have accomplished its purpose well. If you want to understand and get closer to modern art, why not visit the Arario Museum in Space?
Location: Arario Museum in Space, Jong-ro, Seoul
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10:00~19:00 (entrance ends at 18:00)
Admission: Adults 10,000 won