Uproarious, Heated and Inundated

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광복 전시 (Courtesy of the artist and MMCA Seoul)
Courtesy of the artist and MMCA Seoul
광복 전시 (Courtesy of the artist and MMCA Seoul)
Courtesy of the artist and MMCA Seoul
광복 전시 (Courtesy of the artist and MMCA Seoul)
Courtesy of the artist and MMCA Seoul
Commemorating the 70th anniversary of Korea’s National Liberation Day (also known as “Gwangbokjeol”), the exhibit shows the “uproar” behind the Korean War that tore the country in two and the “heated” cityscape that followed with the industrial revolution that sped through the ‘60s–‘80s. One-liner pieces on guns and red bleeding fences sock you right in the eye, but a video piece featuring toy soldiers (similar to the nostalgic figures in  Toy Story) that dance along to a gentle Waltz slowly erased the grin I had been wearing. Walking closer to the screen, I spot my shadow looming above the military dancers. It looks like a silent dictator in black, and the hall only grows longer afterwards. Heading towards the third and final chapter on the first floor, a strange mash-up of Korean music, skidding from old ‘90s K-pop to Korea’s latest hip-hop music, breaks the mood. It’s not something you can dance to, but it is jarring enough to pique your curiosity into seeing “Inundated.” Paik Nam-june’s celebrated TV screens are broken as usual, but he’s not so important here. The real highlight is only a step away, which is another video piece that plays a painting lesson taught by a slimmer. Korean version of Bob Ross. Picking a color he seems hip and happy, the man is obsessed with yellow, and he shows it with every stroke of yellow paint he lays on the canvas. Screeching like a crow, he colors the painting with varying hues of yellow differentiated by subtle but unique screams. Walking out, I saw the children who had been laughing beside me earlier, once again huddled in front of piece #34. It doesn’t have much to do with Gwangbokjeol, but it was liberating see such an expressive character at a contemporary art museum in Seoul. As such, I’m giving this exhibition five stars just so that you will go see piece #34. 

By: Michelle JY Park

Event phone: 02-3701-9500
Event website: http://www.mmca.go.kr/
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