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A PURE SOUL THAT HAS NOT FADED AWAY: ‘ KWON JIN KYU CENTENNIAL: ANGEL OF ATELIER’

exhibition Yaelim Youn Jun 08, 2022


Exhibition view / Image courtesy of SeMA

 

The sculptor Kwon Jin Kyu’s retrospective exhibition ‘Kwon Jin Kyu Centennial: Angel of Atelier’ ended on May 22 at the Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA). After entering the solitary art world in 1947, Kwon Jin Kyu, who set himself apart from a more pedestrian life and devoted himself to sculpture as his one guiding light until his untimely death at the age of 52, left behind various works, such as sculptures of animals and female figures. Last year, the Kwon Jin Kyu Commemoration Foundation and his family donated a large number of his works to the museum, hoping that more people would be able to appreciate them. In March of this year, on the 100th anniversary of Kwon Jin Kyu’s birth, this aim finally came true. When entering the gallery, visitors are greeted by the poem spring, singing of spring while creating Angel of Atelier, published in 1972 by the artist. The verses written at the end of his life contain all of the his attitudes toward art, methods and objects, and regrets and hopes in life. Visitors can look at the his art world, one who tried to contain a sense of eternity in his sculpture, although his personal life was fraught with difficulties. The gallery, which was decorated by stacking dark grey deep hole blocks and bricks, is reminiscent of a well and a kiln, adding to the sense of immersion as if one was visiting the Kwon’s atelier. Every Thursday and Saturday, Kwon Jin Kyu’s nephews, Huh Myunghoe (honorary professor, Korea University) and Huh Kyunghoe (president, Kwon Jin Kyu Commemoration Foundation) ran special docent programs. Those who had been watching his uncle Kwon Jin Kyu for a long time helped visitors to understand the exhibition more closely by telling vivid stories related to the work. At the end of the exhibition, numerous memos and drawings that left behind traces of Kwon’s agony during his lifetime were presented as if the artist’s soul, which has not yet departed, remains here, in the atelier. 

 

Exhibition view / Image courtesy of SeMA

Exhibition view / Image courtesy of SeMA

 


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