Metmuseum Manila Exhibits Fifty Years of Korean Contemporary Printmaking
Posted by: Teacher ia | on August 2, 2013
Some time last year, I was invited by MYX Channel for a school forum regarding the K-Pop sensation here in the Philippines. I went to University of Sto. Tomas (UST) thinking I will only be talking to a handful of students. To my surprise, not only are there more than a handful of students but it seemed it was the university’s foundation celebration. Since MYX is one of the local channels popular to college students, just imagine how packed the theater hall was. My stand about K-Pop has not changed: We live in a world where we should reach to people globally and yet with all the influences that we encounter, not limited to K-Pop, we should remember our grassroots, that is, our own rich Filipino culture, and how we can keep our identity as Filipinos without compromising our values as a nation.
Other than K-Pop, I must admit my knowledge of Korea is not as broad as I would like it to be. I taught ESL (English as a Second Language) to Korean students and managed to recognize a few words and not to write my name or my students’ names using red ink. My sister has been bugging me to watch “My Sassy Girl” and swears that is one of the best movies ever. I have seen a couple of K-Pop music videos (I did my research before going to UST) and recently I heard Ailee sing on YouTube. And of course, who wouldn’t have heard of Gangnam Style, right?
However, is there more to Korean wave than what we see now in the pop culture?
My question was answered by Director of Korea Foundation, Ms. Keum-Jin Yoon and Korea Ambassador in the Philippines, Honorable Hyuk Lee. As the ambassador said, “There is a more serious side to the Korean culture… and the exhibition of the 50 Years of Contemporary Printmaking in Korea” is a good example to show that side.
Since Special Education Philippines is primarily an education website, I was interested in the academic thrust of the Korean Festival here in the Philippines. I found out that the exhibit was arranged by the Korea Foundation and the NationalMuseum of Contemporary & Modern Art, Korea. The Korea Foundation “has been staging its “Korea Festival in ASEAN” program in ASEAN member countries, in an effort to heighten the presence of Korea in Southeast Asia. The festival program features a variety of cultural events, including diverse performances and exhibitions, along with lecture presentations to share Korea’s “success stories” with local audiences. Of note, the Fifty Years of Korean Contemporary Printmaking exhibition, a highlight of the Korea Festival in ASEAN program, is being presented by the Korea Foundation, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (Chung Hyung-min, Director), and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila (Tina P. Colayco, President). The exhibition is being shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, the Philippines, from August 1-23, 2013.
The Korea Foundation implements international exchange programs to enhance mutual understanding and to make friends with peoples from all countries and regions of the world. To build on the worldwide popularity of the “Korean Wave,” the Foundation launched a Korea Festival program in 2012 as a comprehensive effort to introduce Korean culture to global audiences. The initial Korea Festival program was held in Brazil, where local residents greatly enjoyed the variety of Korea-related cultural and artistic activities.”
Print works of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea
Throughout history, the art of printmaking has evolved by combining traditional and contemporary aspects, in addition to reflecting the close relationship between the culture and society of Korea. From its collection of more than 300 printmaking works, the National Museum of Modern Arts has selected some 71 items for the exhibition, including ‘Lee Taebaeck Captivated in Color,’ by Nam-june Paik, ‘From the coal miner’s journal- coal mining,’ by Jai-hyoung Hwang, and ‘Story of Forest’ by Sea-young Oh.
The exhibition, with an overview of the artistic achievements of Korean printmaking, covers a wide range of processes, like wood print, copper print, lithography, silkscreen, and digital print, which result in unique print works. There are also examples of whimsical printmaking works of the world-renowned artist Nam-june Paik, as well as various award-winning works and representative works of printmaking that were created amidst the pro-democracy movement in the 1980s, along with abstract printmaking works of the post-war period. By displaying works of various methods and times, the exhibition reveals the features of Korea’s modern arts and its evolution over time.
This exhibition, which represents a meaningful endeavor for Korea and the Philippines to effectuate cultural exchange, is being presented so that ASEAN audiences can better understand and appreciate the creativity of Korea’s print artists. The exhibition is a rare opportunity for the people of the Philippines to experience this different aspect of Korean culture. Korea’s modern printmaking can serve as a catalyst for ASEAN countries to expand their cultural exchange activities with Korea.
It should be noted that Metmuseum Manila had an exhibit on Contemporary Lithography from Finland. What I learned from that exhibit I applied it while appreciating the artwork for the current Korean printmaking exhibit. Some of my favorite pieces belong to the 1970’s up to 1980s section. The current art exhibit is divided into four sections: 1950s (The Early Stages of Printmaking); 1960s (The Formation); 1970s – 1980s (The Spread); and finally, the 1990s (Diversification). The the poster for this exhibit is actually one of the arts featured in exhibit which was created by artist, Rhee Sang-woo. When you visit Metmuseum Manila, how about trying to find out in which section this art belongs to? If you do find this art, post your answer in the comments section below.
For me, another feature of this exhibit to watch out for is the Minjung (the people’s) woodblock printmaking. The artwork of Hwang Jai-hyong, who is also known as the “on-site artist” and “miner painter”, made me realize a connection in one of the issues mentioned at the Guardian on the use of the arts specifically, theater, as a tool in making students aware of “complex, worrying issues that affect our young people”. I think this particular section of art can be used as a tool for such issues. As an educator my mind was reeling on the different connections I could make like a web in relating different subjects such as Literature, Social Studies, Science, and even Math. Yes, arts can be used as an engagement activity for the left-brain subjects.
Thus, I highly encourage readers of Special Education Philippines to visit the Metmuseum Manila, from August 1 to 23, to check out the exhibit. Also, while you are there, the second floor currently holds the Filipino Contemporary art which comes from different collections and genres: print, audio, video, and many more. It would be an enriching trip I bet you.
On the other hand, if you’re interest in Korean culture traverse beyond art then you might be interested to attend the special Korea Foundation Lectures that will be held at GT Toyota Asian Cultural Center Auditorium, University of the Philippines on Monday, August 5, 2013, 8:00–12:30 p.m.
There will be two lectures to be held.
Lecture 1: “Capability-Building as the Essence of the Korean Model of Development“by Prof. Keun Lee
Lecture 2: “Understanding K-Entertainment: Korean Visual Culture” by Prof. Seungkwan No
Mr. Keun Lee is a professor of Economics at the Seoul National University. He is also the Director of the Center for Economic Catch-up; President of Asia-Pacific Innovation Network; and a member of the Committee for Development. He worked as a consultant at the Development Research Group, World Bank from 2004 until 2005. He holds a Ph. D. in Economics, University of California, Berkeley, USA. (‘89).
Mr. Seungkwan No is a professor of Entertainment Design at HanyangUniversity. He holds a Ph.D. in Psychology, Yonsei University(‘11)/ He has received a B.F.A. Honors in Film, Animation and Video(FAV), Rhode Island School of Design, RI (’97) and M.F.A. in Experimental Animation/Integrated Media, California Institute of the Arts, CA(‘01).
Thus, for Buwan ng Wika, explore not only the beauty of our language but the influences that shapes our language. If you need a douse of inspiration, drop by at Metropolitan Museum of Manila which is just located at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Manila. Museum hours are from 10am – 5:30pm, Monday to Saturday. Closed on Sundays and holidays. For details on the exhibit, please call 708-7829. You can also visit the Metmuseum Manila website for more details.