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Daegu Art Museum Hosts “Modern Life,” an Exhibition of the Fondation Maeght Collection from France
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Daegu Art Museums hosts a collaborative global exhibition of researched collections from France’s La Fondation Marguerite et Aime Maeght.


Daegu Art Museum (Director Choi Eun-ju) will host “Modern Life,” a foreign exchange exhibition in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the museum’s opening. The exhibition will be held in Gallery 1 and Umi Hall from October 19, 2021 (Tues) to March 27, 2022 (Sun).


“Modern Life” is a joint project between La Fondation Maeght (chairman Adrien Maeght), the first private art institution in France, and the Daegu Art Museum to study the collections of the two institutions under the theme of modernism. Exhibiting 144 works of art created by 78 artists, this project, which is the result of research conducted over the past two years, not only shows the aesthetic modernity that contemporary artists pursued by relying purely on art, but also the encounter between two world of art—two cultures with different traditions of paintings.


La Fondation Maeght is an institution located in Saint-Paul de Vence, a beautiful region of Côte d'Azur, France. It houses about 13,000 works by famous artists who left important marks in the art history of the 20th century, such as Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, and Alberto Giacometti.

Today, as the entire world suffers from an unprecedented novel virus, the only way for art museums, which communicate with the world solely through art, can comfort the public is through artworks. The works of masters, who had faced turbulent times of each era and sublimated even pain and suffering into art, go with the history of mankind, lightening the somber atmosphere surrounding this society and era and sending waves of hope.


As the title of the exhibition “Modern Life” suggests, most of the exhibited works show transitional and transformative aspects of modernity. Modern art, which belongs to the category of modernity, functioned to establish the course of art that had unfolded in Europe before World War II through intense artistic experiments from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s as part of inevitable progress in history.


At the same time, modern art expanded the phenomena that occurred in the contemporary time period to the logic of artistic development, as researchers constantly presented aesthetic and historical grounds. As a result, in the late 1960s, transformations that reflect reality began to emerge in art. This exhibition focuses on this reality that permeates the exhibited works.


The exhibition is divided into eight sub-themes. The first section is “De-figuration,” and it consists of 15 works of art by Alberto Giacometti, Jean Dubuffet, Julio González, Choi Youngrim. It shows the autonomy of art, trying to break away from the figurative form through modified structures and uniquely parceled facets based on the exploration of human beings.


The second section is “Landscapes-memories.” Sixteen works by artists including Pierre Tal-Coat, Anna-Eva Bergman, Yoo Young Kuk, and Kim Tschang-yeul summon the surrounding landscapes and memories that change over time. The third section is “Abstraction,” an indispensable discourse in modern art and a much-studied topic for numerous art theorists. The wave of abstraction spread not only to Europe and the United States after the war, but also to Asia and the world. In particular, this section exhibits works that elicit higher-order thoughts by Korean artists such as Han Mook, Lee Ufan, Jung Jeumsik, and Lee Kangso as well as works by Bram van Velde, Pablo Palazuelo, and Eduardo Chillida, which will be shown in Korea for the first time to illustrate the changes in abstraction.


The fourth section, titled “Writings,” shows paintings that include various types of written characters, such as the works of Henri Michaux and Hans Hartung, as well as works where written characters are clearly present but not easily identifiable, such as the works of Choi Byungso, Park Seobo, and Lee Bae. The fifth section is “Ultramodern Solitude,” which provides the viewers a moment to catch their breath amidst post-war modern artworks that have inherited the changes in forms and transformed them into a modern concept. The works of Jung Byungguk, Choi Minhwa, Han Un-Sung, Jacques Monory, Valerio Adami, and Erró provide time to focus on the “individual” and “self.”


The sixth section is “Re-generating Painting,” and it consists of works by Simon Hantaï, Claude Viallat, François Rouan and Kim Gui-line, Yun Hyong-keun, Lee Ufan, and Richard Serra, that show a sense of chromatic rhythm and two-dimensional planarity. This section presents an opportunity to see the essence and inherent characteristics of paintings and also to foresee the future of painting, that can only be born anew by going through the process of death.


The seventh section, titled “Re-enchanting the World,” introduces works by Lee Ungno, which contain the artist’s reflections on humans, and works by Suh Se-ok, which implicitly express the existence of human beings, as well as Marc Chagall's “La Vie,” a French national treasure that was brought to South Korea with permission from the French Ministry of Culture for this exhibition.


Last but not least, the eighth section is “Genesis.” This space, where works of Alexander Calder, Lee Kunyong, Lee Ufan, and Richard Long are exhibited, shows the continuous and cyclical relationship among humans, nature, the world, and the universe.


Expressing her wish that the visitors will find opportunities to constantly reflect on and look into themselves while examining 144 works of art, Ma Dong Eun, head of the exhibition curation team and the co-curator of this exhibition, remarked, “The key to this exhibition is to introduce works that reveal the true nature of modernism, reflecting the present and looking forward to hope for the future.”


Olivier Delavallade (former director of Domaine de Kerguéhennec), visiting curator and co-curator of this exhibition, also commented, “Reconstructing a concept into a story through the presentation of the collections of both institutions in one place does not mean that I wish for people to be trapped in a theory or discourse.” He also expressed that he hoped the visitors can share happiness while appreciating great works of art, and also talk about the inspiration and emotions they received from the artworks.


The admission for the exhibition is KRW 10,000 for the general public and KRW 7,000 for teenagers and college students. Those who have received their second dose of vaccines at least 14 days ahead of their visit may enter without prior reservation (must present an electronic or paper certificate upon entry). Those who have not been fully vaccinated and those who received their second dose within the last 14 days must make a reservation via Interpark or phone. In addition to this exhibition, other exhibitions at the Daegu Art Museum are open to public for free of charge as before. More details can be found on the Daegu Art Museum website. (Inquiries: 053 803 7900)