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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Kyung-In Art Gallery, Insadong

A Saturday off? Woooo! It's been a busy few weeks and tomorrow starts yet another 6-day workweek. Exhausting, for sure.

But today was a beautiful day off and I wanted to see something new in Seoul. A bit of searching led me to the Kyung-In Art Gallery tucked away in a quiet alley right off Insadong-gil. The gallery (actually a collection of 5 or 6 individual galleries) is located in a converted traditional Korean house. Admission is free and it's a fantastic place to spend a hot afternoon -- lots of trees provide shade and there's a gorgeous courtyard in the center of the buildings.

The writing here is hanja, the traditional and ancient form of Korean writing, not hangul, modern Korean writing.

The art varied from traditional oil paint on paper and clay sculptures to super-modern graphic art and needlepoint. It was interesting to wander in and out of the different exhibits and get a sense of what is happening in Seoul. The gallery curators were so accomodating too, handing out free postcards and picture books.

Very little of what was displayed was what you might consider "traditional" Korean art. Certainly none of it would have sprung to mind immediately if someone mentioned Korean art. It's fun to see how Korea has evolved even in the past twenty years and how truly modern it has become, particularly in Seoul.

One of the buildings has been turned into a traditional Korean teahouse. I didn't visit it today -- by the time I'd seen all of the galleries, I was starving for lunch -- but it's definitely somewhere I want to go return. I've yet to have a traditional tea service so it's on my must-do list.

Un-related to art, some friends and I met up at Au Bon Pain later in the afternoon and I had my first chocolate chip cookie in more than 7 months. Mmmm... it's really the simple things that make life worth living.

Now's the time to make that must-see-in-Korea list, I guess, so this is one thing checked off. Now to actually decide what's next on the list!