Leeum, A Place Of Art And Architecture
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Leeum, A Place Of Art And Architecture
  • 이은주
  • 승인 2004.11.02 00:00
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   If you leave Hanggangjin Station and walk a few meters up the slope of Namsan in Hannam-dong, a magnificent architectural complex will grab your attention. This architectural composition, a work of art itself, is Leeum­the Samsung Museum of Art. Leeum opened in October as a repository of art and culture, bringing Korean art and foreign art together.
   The complex is divided into three major parts: Museum 1, Museum 2, and the Samsung Child Education & Culture Center (CECC). Each building houses unique art works, and the architecture of each differs according to its theme.
Museum 1, which houses the company's traditional Korean art collection, was built by Mario Botta (61). An architect who is famous for saying, "Architecture is the matrix of all arts,"Botta created a building that is shaped like a Korean porcelain where the architecture itself would be in harmony with the various Korean traditional earthenware displayed inside.
   This museum gives an overview of Korean culture from the prehistoric era to the Joseon Dynasty. Its collection includes 36 artifacts designated as National Treasures and 79 designated as Treasures. When entering Museum 1, various metal works, Buddhist art, ceramics, and paintings are displayed. Together with the architecture they construct a display of both contemporary and historical sensibilities.
   Connected to Museum 1, Museum 2 houses the company's contemporary art collection and was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel (61). Nouvel says, "put art in the architecture and put the architecture in the city." Moreover, he composed the building with black rectangular exhibition boxes made out of rusted steel. The purpose of using this material was to ensure people that the natural process of the rusting over time symbolizes its role as a setting for contemporary art in an urban context.
   Inside each box, Korean and foreign paintings, sculptures, photographs, and videos are displayed. Well-known works include "Figure in a Room" by Francis Bacon, "Forty-five Gold Marilyns" by Andy Warhol,  and " Bull" by Lee Joong-seop.
   Along with Museum 1 and Museum 2 is the CECC. This building is made of transparent glass so that people outside the museum are able to see through the inside. The Dutch architect of this place, Rem Koolhaas (60), stresses that architecture strengthens the flow of an event. Here, the flow is the arrangement of various art works from different times, displayed so that children can understand easily. For example, the process of making one painting is explained in detail. The CECC also explains the history of Korean art by using pictures and dialogues. And a magnifying glass is provided in various places to make it convenient for children to observe the materials that make up the artifacts.
   The three very different styles of contemporary architecture work together to create a cultural complex where each architectural masterpiece is part of a harmonious whole. Mario Botta's solid form brings together traditional and contemporary sensibilities. Jean Nouvel? use of glass and steel highly reflects contemporary works, and Rem Koolhaas?abstract space is built to allow room for the imagination of future architectures and artists to develop. This harmony symbolizes Leeum's goal to be a place where the past, the present, and the future of art co-exist.
   Hong Ra-hee, the director general of Leeum, who is also the curator, says, "In this space that unites the city, architecture, and nature in harmony, everyone will be able to participate and enjoy the dialogue among art, people, and culture that transcends the past, the present, and the future." The Leeum is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Advance reservations are required, and available through (02) 2014-6901.


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