From Seoul to Mérida


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On the occasion of the celebration of 60 years of diplomatic relations between Mexico and Korea, an exhibition of contemporary Korean artists was held at the Visual Arts Center of Merida from June 29th to July 31th. This initiative was supported by FREEDOM, which in the words of its Director Kim Eunsook it’s a museum project to promote Korean artists abroad with the conviction that art is born of free energy.

Therefore, the effort to disseminate the feelings and creativity of contemporary Korean artists in the world transcends geographical and cultural boundaries through the analysis of relevant themes from the point of view of Korean philosophy or from the everyday life itself, and as a result, they are weaving alliances while opening opportunities for new artists.

The history between Merida and Korea dates back to the early twentieth century, when the first generation of migrants arrived and with them their descendants, who have done a great task, not only to continue working from afar for the ideals and to achieve the independence of their country, but also to ensure that the significant elements of their culture and tradition transcend in the new generations.

The Korean people have always been generous and empathetic towards Yucatán and precisely this artistic and cultural initiative is another example through which they shared with us 45 pieces that incorporate traditional materials and techniques, as well as the integration of new ideas of creative interpretation. The role of women stands out in this exhibition, not only through the female presence among the artists, but also to share the philosophy and perspective of Korean women in the world and the complex moment in which we live.

Such is the case of the piece Run! Run again (2021) by the young artist Choi Kyung Hee, made in acrylic on canvas 65 x 162 cm. Where we can see the modern interpretation of the female presence through a comic of Wonder Woman and the challenges that women face in everyday life and in a complex and demanding world, both to be realized along with professional and personal challenges, a situation that becomes relevant from the vision of a young woman, who is starting her way in this art world.

(...) art regardless of borders and cultural differences is an extraordinary way to share ways of thinking.

Likewise, Choi Sug Woo‘s vision of nature with their work Tree (2014), oil on canvas 162.2x 97.3 cm. This artist presented a realistic piece on one of the longest-lived trees in Korea; the quality and detail is extraordinary, to the extent that in exhibition hall one feels like a photograph. And the central idea of this work is to make the viewer feel as if they were sitting in the shade of such an imposing tree. Likewise, the message also highlights the importance of this tree in the life of Koreans and the respect for nature.

Choi Sugwoo | Korea Painting Artist
Choi Sugwoo | Korea Painting Artist

Tree. Oil color on canvas, 162.2 x 97.3 (cm), 2014

Kim Lee Hoon with What Flow is a proposition of things that do not flow (2020), acrylic on canvas 162 x 130 cm. Shares his perception of a river which was part of his daily commute to work. The artist presents us with an abstract image that from a distance lets us see what could be fish or plastic bottles floating in the river. Perceptions that change depending on the proximity of the observer.

Kim Lee Hoon
Kim Lee Hoon

Another interesting work is that of the artist Song Soo Ryun with Internal insight (2007) made with Korean ink on Korean paper Jangji (gangji) 167 x 135 cm. Abstract work that brings the innovation of the plastic proposal on traditional Korean materials.

Internal insight (2007)

By virtue of the above, I would like to share the following reflection, that art regardless of borders and cultural differences is an extraordinary way to share ways of thinking, feeling and seeing life from the cotidianity and to the depths of our spirit, and also transcends beyond language and generational changes. Therefore, we thank FREEDOM for this traveling exhibit of Korean art that inspires and motivates.

Yolanda Fernández

Dra. en Arquitectura, directora de Habitar y Más, académica de la Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán con experiencia en la administración pública y consultora en temas de urbanismo.