• Shows
  • Sep 01, 2023

Shows to See in Seoul, September 2023

With the second edition of Frieze Seoul and the simultaneous, long-running Kiaf SEOUL converging on the COEX Convention & Exhibition Center in Gangnam, Seoul will be pulsating with contemporary art and its fans in September. Amid all the hustle and jostling for attention, here are just a few of the many exhibitions to check out in Seoul in early September. 

Installation view of SUNG NEUNG KYUNG’s Venue, 1985, mixed-media on paper, dimensions variable, in "Botched art: the meanderings of Sung Neung Kyung" at Gallery Hyundai, 2023. Courtesy Gallery Hyundai. 

Aug 23–Oct 8
Botched art: the meanderings of Sung Neung Kyung
Gallery Hyundai

Celebrated conceptual artist Sung Neung Kyung and Gallery Hyundai are collaborating for the first time to present a solo exhibition on Sung’s subversive 50-year career. The “mini-retrospective” will showcase 140 works, tracing Sung’s career from the 1970s, when he began working with newspapers and photographs, to his present performance work, which pushes the boundaries of experimental art. As the exhibition’s name indicates, “Botched art: the meanderings of Sung Neung Kyung” celebrates the avant-garde alongside humor and history, shining a light on one of Korea’s pioneers of conceptual art. 

Installation view of "Haegue Yang: Latent Dwelling" at Kukje Hanok, 2023. Courtesy Kukje Gallery.  

Aug 30–Oct 8 
Haegue Yang: Latent Dwelling
Kukje Hanok

Haegue Yang’s latest exhibition, “Latent Dwelling,” is currently on display at Kukje’s satellite space, which is housed in a traditional Korean home. This exhibition comes after her previous showcase, “Mesmerizing Mesh,” which also took place at the same location last year and marked the opening of the art space in a premodern Korean house. In “Latent Dwelling,” Yang has combined both old and new pieces, which are tightly arranged within the limited space to create a dialogue between her artwork and traditional Korean architecture. The exhibition will be open until 8 pm from Sep 4-9 and until midnight on Sep 2, coinciding with Samcheong Night. 

Installation view of "MeeNa Park: House" at One and J. Gallery, 2023. Photo by artifacts. Courtesy of the artist and One and J. Gallery.  

Sep 1–Oct 22
MeeNa Park: House
One and J.

Artist MeeNa Park will inaugurate One and J. Gallery’s new location in the Gangnam area with her second solo exhibition at the gallery titled “House,” which is also a recurring theme in her painting. Known for her public-inspired colors and studies of commercial pictographs in her paintings, Park devised a methodology of painting that serves as a commentary on social norms and cultural conventions. Her works reframe the understanding of social systems, derived from the analysis of colors, icons, and symbols. The exhibition will present Park’s House paintings from 1999 until 2023. 

TAVARES STRACHAN, Self Portrait: Loyalty to the Past (Blue Guro Mask), 2023, oil, enamel, pigment, museum board, brass armature, and Guro mask (Ivory Coast) on acrylic, 182.9 × 182.9 × 5.1 cm, two panels. Photo by Miho Suzuki, Courtesy the artist and Perrotin. 

Sep 2–Oct 7
Tavares Strachan: Do and Be

Bahamian-born multimedia artist Tavares Strachan, known for integrating science and technology into conceptual works, is holding his first solo exhibition in Asia at Perrotin Seoul. “Do and Be” takes its title from a 1920s flyer by Jamaican activist Marcus Garvey, a champion of pan-Africanism. The words reappear in another one of his works, although they are distorted by swaying glass baubles, perhaps reminding viewers of words’ emptiness when they are not reinforced by political action. Also on display are his new, African-inspired ceramics, as well as various mixed-media portraits of Black icons, demonstrating Tavares’s uncanny ability to use new mediums to bridge political activism with conceptual art. 

Installation view of "Nikki S. Lee: Parts Revisited" at Various Small Fires, Seoul, 2023. Courtesy the artist and Various Small Fires. 

Sep 5–Oct 14
Nikki S. Lee: Parts Revisited
Various Small Fires

Various Small Fires gallery will exhibit Seoul-based Nikki S. Lee’s work for the second time in their survey “Parts: Revisited.” While Lee is most known for her photography highlighting American subcultures, this collection centers her own image. Shot in New York during the early 2000s, “Parts” explores the relationship between heteronormative partnerships and female identity; by physically cutting her male counterpart out of her photographs, one is left pondering how his absence affects the remaining model, or if it does at all. Lee’s physical alteration to the photographs also recalls a time without digital cropping, probing viewers to reflect on how much photography has changed in just two decades. 

YEONDOO JUNG, One Hundred Years of Travels, 2023, still from four-channel HD video installation with color and sound: 40 min, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist and MMCA, Seoul.  

Sep 6–Feb 25, 2024
Jung Yeondoo: One Hundred Years of Travel
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul

For the 10th edition of the annual MMCA Hyundai Motor Series, renowned South Korean multimedia artist Jung Yeondoo debuts work in his first large-scale solo exhibition at MMCA since 2007. “One Hundred Years of Travels” is centered around a video installation and its prologue, Generational Portraits (2023), about diasporic identities, with a sound installation inspired by John Lennon’s song Imagine in a room of hanging cacti-shaped sound absorbers, and a large wall of sugar sculptures, reminiscent of archaic castle walls. In these works, Jung contemplates how cultures across borders are inextricably linked through global events.

SUKI SEOKYEONG KANG, Mountain – Autumn #21-01, 2020-21, painted steel, thread, chain, 128.3 × 97.8 × 40 cm. Courtesy Studio Suki Seokyeong Kang.

Sep 7–Dec 31
Suki Seokyeong Kang: Willow Drum Oriole
Leeum Museum of Art, Seoul

In her new video work and eponymous solo exhibition “Willow Drum Oriole,” multimedia artist Suki Seokyeong Kang uses the image of sages interpreting the movements of orioles though trees as a metaphor for the spatiotemporal sensitivity characterizing her practice. Balancing modernity and timelessness, Kang creates sculptural, moving-image, and two-dimensional works—from hanging scrolls of woven fabric to architectural arrangements of thread- covered and painted geometric shapes. In showing more than 130 of Kang’s artworks, curator June Young Kwak creates a space that transcends the historical and the personal, encouraging connections between her pastel compositions in a thought- provoking look at how harmony, tradition, and social discourse inform her practice.

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