What shape did artistic exchange or integration projects, now known as ‘cross-overs’ or ‘collabs’ take during the 1920s and 1930s in Gyeongseong (colonial era Seoul)? The exhibition, Encounters Between Korean Art and Literature in the Modern Age, now on show at MMCA Deoksugung welcomes its visitors to explore collaborative relationships through the works of authors and artists representative of the Japanese colonial period. During this time, the Korean literary circle (Jeong Jiyong, Yi Sang, Kim Girim, Kim Gwanggyun, Lee Taejun, Park Taewon, Baek Seok, and so on) and the artistic circle (Gu Bonung, Kim Yongjun, Choi Jaideok, Lee Jungseop, Kim Whanki, Chang Ucchin, Han Mook, Chun Kyungja, and so on) grew together in their mutual exchanges. The exhibition reveals a map of relationships through four sections. In ‘Confluence of the Avant-Garde’, the exhibition explores avant-garde experiments that traverse artistic networks and genres and of those practitioners in contact through the Coffeehouse Jebi managed by the poet Yisang. In ‘A Museum Built from Paper’, the exhibition highlights the significance of editorial offices of newspapers and magazines for artists from two different realms and focuses on their printed work. In ‘Fellowship of Artists and Writers in the Modern Age’, the exhibition draws a multi-dimensional impression of the various bonds and relationships that artists had shared and presents the story of the fruitful partnerships between specific writers and artists. In the last section, ‘Writings and Paintings by Literary Artists’, the exhibition draws attention on the works of six artists who were also as talented in literature as their artwork. This exhibition, which engages at a deep level in the relationship between art and literature, devotes itself fully to transposing the narratives of literature into the form of an exhibition. The exhibition spaces reenact the newspaper editing room, the texts and the juxtaposed images, the space in which one can listen to a poem being recited—these artworks have been resituated in our contemporary context to transcend modern space and time and yet still deliver a note of inspiration for the modern and contemporary period. The exhibition will be on display until May 30.
Image courtesy of MMCA