Visit to Art Galleries as Refreshing as Resort Vacation

Article excerpt

Like those living in other metropolitan cities around the world, Seoulites are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the summer vacation season when they will have the chance to enjoy a short but refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

Throughout this time they generally shun artistic and cultural activities, which are strikingly fewer than in other seasons.

However, spending time at galleries or drama theaters can be as special and refreshing as vacationing at resort areas.

This summer, various exhibitions are taking place at galleries in Seoul, showcasing 20th century masters from the United States and Europe. They are very meaningful in that they enable visitors to trace art movements in the U.S. and Europe from the onset of the 20th century until now.

For art lovers, it is a rare and delightful chance to enjoy major classics of the 20th century at home.

An exhibition titled ``Russia: A Thousand Years of Life and Art'' is on view from July 8 to Sept. 30 at the annex of the National Museum of Contemporary Art at Toksu Palace, presenting aspects of the rich and abundant Russian history and culture. The exhibition is being held in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of Seoul-Moscow diplomatic ties.

Among the six sections of the exposition, the one titled ``Russian Art: From Classic to Avant-garde'' offers an interesting introduction into the exploration of modern art.

The exhibited works construe early abstract art movements by Russians under the theme of suprematism and constructivism. Works such as ``Samovar'' (1913) by Kasimir Malevich cherish the influence of Cubism and gradual adoption of the rising non-objective art.

Proclaiming its part in shaping modernity, Alexander Rodchenko's ``Abstract Composition Against a Yellow Background'' (1917) exemplifies the world of Russian modern art in the early 20th century, which pursued absolute relationships between geometric elements or ``an expression of a slowly formed inner feeling,'' as Wassily Kandinsky denoted. These Russian modern artists, upholding a playful composition of geometric forms and colors, are further represented by Popova, Klyun, Kuprin and Goncharova, all of whom can be seen in Seoul this summer.

Realistic posters of labor movements and industrialization, however, insinuate that shortly after Russian abstraction, the art movement lost its vigor amid rising demands for social roles of artists under communist rule.

The influence of cubism on Russian art can be viewed at a current exhibition titled ``Picasso and Guernica'' at the Event Hall of the 63-story Daesaeng Building, Yoido, through Aug. 27. There, the first-ever digital replica of the great painting ``Guernica'' (1937) is displayed along with related drawings related to the creation of the colossal painting, measuring three meters in height and eight meters in width, depicting draconian suppression and despotism.

Once you have grasped the concept of abstraction art from Russian masters' works, modern French art can be a next destination on your quest to discover evolving modernity.

``Nice, The Light of Modernity,'' underway at Gallery Sang in Insa- dong from Jul. 14 to Aug. 20, introduces paintings, sculptures and photographs, in particular on a gamut of performing art events held at the French Riviera. …