The Korea Herald


At Seoul Museum of Art this year -- architecture

By Park Yuna

Published : Feb. 7, 2024 - 17:50

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SeMA director Choi Eun-ju speaks to the press on Tuesday in Seoul. (Yonhap) SeMA director Choi Eun-ju speaks to the press on Tuesday in Seoul. (Yonhap)

An exploration of how architecture matters in people’s lives will be a key exhibition at Seoul Museum of Art this year as the museum looks forward to renovating its main branch in downtown Seoul.

Four exhibitions on architecture will be presented throughout the year starting with the thematic exhibition “Space Time Scenarios” and a solo exhibition of Pritzker-winning British architect Norman Foster in April at the museum’s Seosomun main branch.

“Norman Foster’s exhibition will explore sustainability in architecture and will lead us to think deeply about the future through the means of architecture,” said Choi Eun-ju, director of the city museum at the New Year's press conference held in Seoul, Tuesday.

A rendering image of Zayed National Museum (Foster + Partners) A rendering image of Zayed National Museum (Foster + Partners)

Also in April, the museum will present “The Door of Possibilities” at Nam-Seoul Museum of Art which will approach architecture in a fresh way, inviting audiences to participate in the exhibition. At the end of the year, a solo exhibition of artist Kim Sung-hwan, whose work encompasses a variety of art genres including architecture, will take place at the Seosomun main branch.

Overseas, the museum will present the traveling exhibition “The Upside Down” from June to November at Korean Cultural Centers in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Osaka.

The museum’s Seosomun venue, a former Supreme Court building that was turned into the Seoul Museum of Art in 2002, will undergo an extensive renovation from 2027 to 2028 to expand exhibition and storage spaces. The details of the renovation are currently being discussed, according to the museum.

"A Record of Drifting Across the Sea" by Kim Sung-hwan (Courtesy of the artist)

“We came to think about delving into architecture this year while working on the renovation of the museum. Architecture and design have been part of the art field for a long time,” said Yang Ok-kum, chief curator of the exhibition and education division at the museum.

Seoul Museum of Art has set two agendas, one for exhibition and another for the institution, every year since 2020. As its institutional agenda item for this year, the museum has decided on the concept of connection, planning for a large-scale exhibition “SeMA Omnibus.” The exhibition will show the city museum's collection at its four locations -- the Seosomun main branch, Buk-Seoul Museum of Art, Nam-Seoul Museum of Art and Art Archives and Seoul Museum of Art.

The city-run museum will open two additional branches this year -- one dedicated to photography in Dobong-du in northern Seoul and Seo-Seoul Museum of Art in Geumcheon-gu.

Meanwhile, Seoul city is building a museum in southern Seoul which will function as an art storage museum. The international architecture firm of Herzog & de Meuron was recently chosen for the project.