An Hye-kyoung is a graceful, elegant woman who directs the Art Space C Gallery in Shin Jeju, which she started in 2006. "My goal is to broaden interest in art for the people of Jeju," An said. Currently, as there is no formal exhibition running, she has her own collection on display.
The artworks feature a sophisticated, modern sensibility and a philosophical air. An stated: "I choose art that is about life through art and culture. They shouldn't be separate." The collection includes work in paint, charcoal, woodcut, silk screen, embossing, ceramics, photography and sculpture from the U.S.A., Japan, Korea, and Germany. The works embody a variety of styles and the quality and originality of the pieces is outstanding.
The collection grows with each show, as An often purchases some of the pieces she displays. The most recent exhibition was of charcoal drawings by Hong Bo-ram, of which several pieces were added to her permanent collection. One was a large charcoal drawing of soft, scalloped shapes rippling across the page. "I kept this one because it was so full of energy. It reminds me of sun reflecting through the ocean early in the morning," she said.
"I like work that creates discourse," An explained. "I don't like landscape paintings of Jeju that see everything like a tourist. I want art that talks about issues." She has certainly succeeded. One controversial show last year, by Kim Ok-sun, called 'Happy Together’, featured images of international families; including gay couples. Two of the photographs are on display.
The collection also contains a series of abstract paintings about ‘Sa-Sam’; the massacre of over 20,000 Jeju people in 1948. A series of paintings from the show called Brush/Mind/East/West all feature a large black circle in the center; which the artist, Mario Uribe, uses to represent healing and wholeness. He wished his art to bring peace to the Jeju people and release some of the ‘han’, or deep suffering, that they still carry with them. Four of the paintings from Uribe’s show are in the collection.
One small, abstract drawing shows a hairy finger emerging from a traditional robe, poking at a figure below. It is by a leader of feminist art in Korea. The artist asked her husband if she could go to Art College after fulfilling her duty to her children and family. She studied art in her forties and became a great artist later in life than most. Her work is very abstract and evokes powerful emotions of discontent and unease, but is nonetheless beautiful and engaging.
The Art Space C Gallery Collection features a wide variety of art which will enliven minds and spark conversation on all sorts of issues. Take the time to check out these international works while you are in Jeju City.
The next scheduled exhibition will be of Jeju hand-dyed scarves to be held later in the year. Further information can be found at www.artspacec.com.
Alternatively call 064-745-3693 between 11a.m. and 6 p.m. to schedule an appointment. To find Art Space C, walk west from Halla Hospital until you come to an Indian clothing store. Immediately to the east of this store is a glass stairwell on the corner, take the stairs down to the basement.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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