Wednesday, March 28, 2018

겸재정선 미술관 Gyeom Jae Jeong Seon Art Museum

The folks in my office (the ones who couldn't find an excuse to get out of it, anyway) went on a "team building" activity yesterday afternoon to this art museum in the Magok area, near Yangcheon Hanggyo station on Line 9. I think we're supposed to do this once every couple of months--we get to leave school early, and if we finish by quitting time I'm fine with it. And in this case I'm glad I went.

I had never heard of the artist 정선 Jeong Seon, nor of this whole business of attaching a nickname to the front of them--his is Gyeom Jae 겸재 but no one was able tell me the meaning, though Wiki says it's "humble study". He is a pretty important figure, his dates are 1676 to 1759, and he is considered the master of Korean "true-view" painting. Here's a blurb (and just about the only English in the place):
Its importance can be found in the following aspects: First, Jeong Seon was the protagonist of true-view painting which became an important genre of landscape painting in Korea. Second, Jeong Seon was an advocate of the beauty of Korea. Third, Jeong Seon was the painter who brought true-view painting to perfection. Fourth, Jeong Seon's true-view painting style had an immense influence on many painters of following generations who may even be considered as belonging to School of Jeong Seon.

Much Korean art of the Joseon time was strongly influenced by Chinese styles, but Jeong Seon is reputed to have departed from tradition, and actually go outside with his easel and brushes to observe nature, and record it.

The museum picks up on this idea, and has a display of replicas of some of his works paired with the actual scene they are based on:

Jeong Seon also became a government dignitary, holding the office of hyollyeong of Yangcheon (west stream) and going around the area painting landscapes. This is the region that is modern day Gangseo-gu where I live currently, and the ground floor of the museum has a diorama of the area and some history of Gangseo.

The ground floor also houses temporary exhibits by Korean artists. One show, by Lee Jeong-hyeon 이정현, features landscapes that betray the workmen's tools that go into creating them:

Another series, by Lee Ye-ji 이예지, seemingly features bodies vaguely writhing around in who-knows-what:

And here's one more gallery: