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Ten Kookie Art Installations in South Korea

March 31, 2021 Visit North Asia No Comments Email Email

Looking for some creative inspiration?  Here’s a round-up of ten unique art installations in South Korea which just hint at the creativity found across the country in its architecture, fashion, design, museums, street-art, installations and sculptures.  The art scene reflects the influence of both traditional and modern culture, and the results are both unique and world-class, found on the street and in major institutions.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), Seoul

This cultural complex located in Seoul was designed by the late famous architect Zaha Hadid.  Inside you’ll discover not only an excavated piece of the Seoul City Wall (found during construction) but also galleries, design shops, a walkable park on its roof and museums. The neo-futuristic building itself is the wow factor, with curving forms of elongated structures, it is an imposing design like no other. Forming the centre-piece of South Korea’s fashion hub it has been lauded as one of the main reasons for Seoul’s designation as World Design Capital in 2010.

Metaseosa Seobeol, Seoul City Hall, Seoul

This award-winning installation designed by Korean artist Jeon Sucheon is described as an ‘allegorical visualisation’ of the 2000-year-old city of Seoul through the ages.  What looks like a mass of twisted white balloons, Metaseosa Seobeol is housed in the radical Seoul City Hall which was recently redeveloped.  Inside the new Seoul City Hall, you’ll find a vertical garden seven floors high, but the building itself is an incredible design, shaped like a wave, it is based on the eaves of Korea’s centuries-old houses, known as Hanok.

 Gangnam Style Statue, Gangnam Square, Seoul

For those of us who love a pop culture reference, you can’t go past the famous gold hands in Gangnam Square, Seoul – a not so subtle nod to Psy’s famous song Gangnam Style.  Expect some entertainment beneath as people re-enact Psy’s famous dance moves as the song plays automatically when you stand underneath.  Found outside the famous COEX shopping centre where the video was filmed, the metal sculpture features two fists overlapping in the style of the song’s ‘horse-riding’ dance move.  The song has been viewed more than 2.4 billion times on YouTube.

 Arte Museum, Jeju Island

Arte Museum in Jeju is a unique exhibition space that uses projections and mirrors to create unique spaces under the overarching theme ‘Eternal Nature’. Opened in an old speaker-production factory in October of 2020, the museum offers ten exhibition spaces complete with sounds and scents that pull you deeper into the light displays. Highlights include experiencing scenery including waterfalls, beaches, and a star-filled night sky.

Haslla Art World, Gangwon-do

This aptly named ‘art world’ transports you to various realms through dynamic paintings and sculptures.  From the Abiji Gallery to Modern Art Galleries 1, 2 and 3 through a tunnel, into the experience room and finishing in the Pinocchio and Marionette Museum.  But keep going, the outdoor sculpture park is not to be missed and the space overlooking the ocean adds to the museum’s overall ambience.

 Hyundai Premium Outlets – SPACE1, Namyangju, a Gyeonggi city east of Seoul

Hyundai Premium Outlets – SPACE1 is Korea’s first gallery-type outlet for people who want to enjoy shopping in an artistic environment.  The outlet opened in June 2020 and combines elements of a shopping mall, art gallery and theme park into one.  The main art installations are the outdoor Cube Square and indoor Jamie Hayon Garden and Mocha Play. Cube Square is located in the centre of the shopping mall and features a large red sculpture created with the theme ‘Festival’.  Jaime Hayon Garden was designed by the famous Spanish designer of the same name and offers interesting sculptures set within nature.

The Wave, K-POP Square Media, Seoul

D’strict, a digital design company unveiled ‘The Wave’, in Seoul last year.  Using the largest and highest definition outdoor advertising screen in South Korea, D’strict created what they described as an ‘anamorphic illusion’. The illusion works by distorting the projection, so when the viewer looks at it from just the right angle, it appears to come alive with a depth effect.  The screen used to create this digital piece is 80.1 x 20.1 meters with a resolution of 7,840 x 1,952 pixels – nearly twice the resolution of normal ultra-high-definition, meaning this wave looks almost identical to the real thing and is a mesmerising piece of natural beauty perched atop a building.

Little Prince Statue, Gamcheon Culture Village, Busan

Found in the Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan, this statue of the brightly coloured little prince sitting next to a fox looking out across the rooftops is found atop the village, providing one of the best views over the brightly coloured buildings out to sea.  Refugees settled in Gamcheon Village during the Korean War and cultivated the mountainous region to make a living. In 2009, students, artists and residents decorated the village as a part of the Village Art Project, and since then, the town has grown into a popular spot to visit with sculptures and art found throughout.

Greeting Man, Yanggu War Memorial Hall, DMZ

Greeting Man by Yoo Young-ho, is a 6 metre high, 3-ton large aluminium installation of a blue man bowing in a typical Asian greeting, a gesture symbolising peace and reconciliation.  The use of the colour blue is to indicate a lack of prejudice.  There are a few Greeting Man’s around the world but in South Korea you’ll find him near the Korean Demilitarized Zone, in Haean, Yanggu County, Gangwon.

The Ihwa Mural Village, Seoul

The Ihwa Mural Village in Seoul was considered a run-down residential area and has been transformed into a creative neighbourhood.  Throughout the village, you’ll find murals and art installations of varying appeal and scale amongst the narrow, stair-laden roads of this neighbourhood. As visitors make their way up the steep staircases, there’s interesting architecture, cool cafes, bakeries, restaurants amongst little murals lining the walls and you’ll be rewarded with city views once you reach the top.

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