seoul: encounters with modernism, collection presentation
28 May - 15 Aug 2005

The Stedelijk Museum has put together an exhibition in the National Museum for Contemporary Art (NMCA) in Seoul which combines work from their two collections.

With 65 works from the collection of the Stedelijk and 55 items from the NMCA, the work of Korean artists is placed in a broad, international context. Fitting together two collections in a collective presentation is rather unusual as a model in the international museum world.

This edition of Encounters with Modernism, with a selection from a century of modern art from the Stedelijk’s collection, is in fact a follow-up to the travelling exhibition which previously visited Shanghai, Singapore, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. In the latter city the works from the Stedelijk were also integrated with the local collection. The exhibition makes no pretence of being a survey of modern art, but rather is intended to show that the canon of modern art is constantly developing and is subject to outside influences.

Although it has relatively little work from international artists, the NMCA has the largest collection of Korean art in the country. The development of Korean modern art has been strongly influenced by local politics. But particularly in the last twenty years, in part thanks to the democratisation of the country, many changes have become perceptible. The new generation of artists orient themselves more to international developments, and have also begun to generate more interest.

Encounters with Modernism is taking place in the Deoksugung Palace Museum, a branch of the NMCA in the centre of Seoul. The exhibition is globally arranged under three general themes: abstraction (with work by Mondriaan, Kandinsky, Andre, Judd, Halley, Förg and others), expressionism (with work by Jawlensky, De Valminck, Rothko, De Kooning, Po Kim, Appel, Baselitz, Nam Kwan and others) and conceptual tendencies and new media (Duchamp, Warhol, Oldenburg, Gilbert & George, Nauman, Paik, Kounellis, Koons, Lee Bul, Vanessa Beecroft, Sherman, Sang-gil Kim, Dijkstra, Gordon).

The curators of the exhibition are Maarten Bertheux (Stedelijk Museum) and Inhye Kim (NMCA).

A Korean/English catalogue is appearing to accompany this edition of Encounters with Modernism.