Troika: Persistent Illusions

A Quiet Cacophony


The England based superstar artist trio, Troika, has been exhibiting in Seoul for a few months. Just west of Gyeongbuk Palace, Persistent Illusions is presented in the clinical white interior of Daelim Museum. The lobby tries to invoke a suave technological look (ala the Apple Store) but I couldn’t help but see it more as an antiseptic, the gritty complexity of the world held at bay. Like the Apple Store, merchandising is available to consume.

Moichendizing! Where the real money of the gallery is made!

Hovering above is an installation piece that sets the mood for the whole show.

Cloud Seen from Above

‘Cloud’ is composed of a multitude of disks, one side which are black, the other side a mirror, which flip at the will of a mechanical mind. While Sephiroth is conspicuously absent, everything shouts precision and attention to detail. All the little disks fit perfectly, no gaps, no delays or snags. Yet this magnificent mechanical mass holds a overtly oppressive overtones. Cold precision mocks its namesake, changing, not in shape or form but surface. The barren cloud is accompanied by constant clacking, an aspect of the aesthetic that was either overlooked or left to emphasize the manufactured nature. This cloud brings neither shade, nor rain, but spectacle and a soulless rain of noise and reflection. And that was only the lobby.

After handing over my ticket, I climbed into the troposphere.

Beyond the rainless cloud is ‘Falling Light’, a broad room of light machines that create an effect of light drops on the floor. While the play of light as water is intriguing, the mild whirring of the machines calls attention to the unnatural. Standing under the lights recall alien abduction scenes, while just focusing on the actual mechanisms on the ceiling are more reminiscent of a nuclear war.

Around the corner is a collection of various electric devices from various ages, all plugged into a nest of wires, all on. In the centre of this collection is the titular ‘Electric Probe’, presumably measuring the electric interference given off by the various devices. It’s an oddly mesmerising reflection of our technology and our dependence on electricity for our communication, work and entertainment. The set up, while on the one hand purely pragmatic, also sets up or reflects an odd audience/performer relationship. Traditionally the performer is at the centre sharing with the audience around her. Her, the central position of the performer is replaced by the one listening to the audience, and the cacophony of voices sing and shout out – not so much to be heard, but in their everyday actions. Our connected media has allowed each of us all to be both the audience and creators and curators of content. It’s a brave new world.

An Hernest Performance
A Mess of Wires
And Blade Runner… because Blade Runner

‘The Weather Yesterday’ is in the same room as ‘Electric Probe’ which is a mild annoyance – both adding and detracting from the experience. It adds to it in the way that it too is an electric contraption of lights, one more drop of the electric white noise of our lives. The piece taken on it’s own is fun mostly for it’s conceptual nature. Is could be suggesting the irrelevance of nature for most of our lives. Most of us urban dwellers only venture outside when we hop between home and business, and even then only to get to our transportation conveyances. It could be a reminder of the ever transient past and memories of the mundane. It could also be a statement of the wasteful pointlessness we put into knowing and promoting mundane facts by removing it slightly from it’s actual purpose by a factor of 24 hours or 1.6 million miles through space.


Further through the stratosphere.

The third floor had an interesting theme of nature and chance. Hidden underneath is also the element of control. ‘Persistent Illusions’ is a fountain mimic with multi-colored ropes taking the place of the water. While the illusion of the fountain is mesmerising, the tangled mess underneath is more so. It reminds me of silly string and a snake in a box. Controlled at first, but quickly the nature of the strings make a jumble.


‘Light Drawings’ is much more natural. Produced by passing 50,000 volts of electricity over paper, these burned images are reminiscent of rivers or roots. Personally I am reminded of large maps following the natural terrain, not of our terrestrial sphere but of a temporary spark. It’s a reversal of our traditional notion of maps. While terrestrial maps are temporary representations, here the map lasts much longer than what it maps. Though really, the world around us changes, if imperceptibly, so really, maps of terrain generally outlast the specific state they map.


‘Small Bangs’ are various expansions of ink on wet paper. It’s an obvious parody of the Big Bang – where concentrated beginnings expand into more complex or varied patterns by merit of expansion into the void.


This contrasts nicely with ‘the Sum of All Possibilities’, a mobile consisting of long, thin, curved pieces rotating at various, though slow, speeds. Most often this results in what looks like a sphere, though. The gears are set for a twelve-minute cycle, so if you want to see transmutation of shapes, it might be worth your time. Skip it if you’re the impatient type.


‘Labyrinth’ seems to focus on flow through man-made spaces. Our desire to square things and fit them Tetris-like does not diminish the organic. The latter merely adapts to our machinations.


Einstein is quoted to have said that god does not play dice. Could it be the universe is probabilistic, or are the dice themselves loaded? While I have some thoughts on it myself, I’ll let you think about it yourself. Concepts of determinism aside, I’m particularly enjoyed the isomorphic landscape reminiscent of the terrain in SimCity 2000. Shades of not so sexual grey are created by not only the black and white die, but the determination of which number is showing. If any one of them were changed… it wouldn’t make a big difference. Yet with increased entropy the system would make less and less sense and eventually dissolve into white noise.





And then I made my final climb into darkness

The final floor is heavy with quiet. Where the lobby, a mere three floors down, was filled with sound and fury, this place is void and reflection. And so I entered ‘Arcade’.


The room itself feels like an ever receding darkness, pierced by columns of light that bend into etherial arches. My very presence there felt like an intrusion on holy ground. This space was where the finite meets the infinite, material with the non-physical, the profane with the divine. It is a place made for you to experience, yet forbidden at the same time. Walking down the aisle was communion with the eternal.

But then curiosity got the better of me. Touching art is taboo in galleries, but surely light emanations, being themselves incorruptible by my corporeal hands, would be okay to ‘touch’. So long as I don’t touch the devices emitting them, no? Well, the attendant quickly stepped in to politely ask me not to touch the light. At first I wondered why, but then I realised. Me playing with the light would change the other worldly experience of other people. I negotiated with the attendant – she let me experiment with the light provided I did not touch the actual apparatus and there were no other patrons in the room. I happily waited and bathed my hand in light, seeing how it was bent and reflected on the ceiling. The sense of wonder and discovery swelled in my chest. Wonder and Awe that leads to experimenting and understanding is vastly superior to wonder and awe that tries to preserve that feeling.

If you wish to visit Troika: Persistent Illusions, you still have a month left. Tickets are 5,000 won each the final day is October 12, 2014.

You can visit it at the Daelim Museum:

Daelim Museum
Seoul, Jongno-gu Tongui-dong 35-1

서울특별시 종로구 통의동 35-1

Union Jack

With the referendum for Scottish Independence happening as I type, my mind turned to flags. More specifically the Union Jack.

For those of you not in the know, it’s a combination of England’s St. George’s Cross,

Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Cross,

and Scotland’s St. Andrew’s Cross.

No love for Wales though.

I guess dragons are too pagan for national banners?

But should Scotland leave the Union, it would be dishonest to keep the Union Jack as is. Time to take out St. Andrew’s Cross. That would leave us with a much sadder looking Union Jack.



To make up for it, perhaps we could give Wales a little love. Throw the dragon and green field in there!



Hmmm, that makes the dragon look like it’s imprisoned or something.

Club Zion – Ethiopian Food and Coffee


A Shining Restaurant at the Foot of a Hill

I think I must have passed Club Zion dozens if not hundreds of times due solely to it’s name. I’m not a club person and could probably count the number of times I’ve been to a club on one hand, so it never crossed my mind to pop in.

Ah, but thanks to the power of the internet, I found out that this was much more a bar and restaurant than anything I would associate with a club. And while it is at the foot of ‘hooker hill’ in Itaewon, it wasn’t *that* sort of establishment. Well, at least not on the surface.

I went with three friends, three of us blatantly American and the fourth an older Korean friend of ours. We call him “Uncle Paul”. Because he asked us to. Since the establishment was new to us, we were initially a little hesitant, but we ducked inside and picked out a table. It was initially awkward as the restaurant was filled only with Africans who – for a brief moment – all seemed to look at us, as if surprised by our decision. I’m actually used to this with more backwater Korean establishments, but these folks lost interest pretty quickly and went back to their conversations and playing pool.

Oh, there’s a pool table there.

The menu is concise, which makes it great for those not knowing what they’re getting.

All the dishes here revolve around Injera – the Ethiopian flatbread. It’s spongy and soft to the touch and soaks up the sauces and juices really well. Fred initially thought it would be really light, but it soaks up the juices and fat really well. Turned out to be quite filling. Out of the four of us, I was the only one to finish their piece of bread! We had the following dishes:

Beye Ayenet


Beye Ayenet is the main vegetarian dish, providing a variety of things to eat. Some of which were identifiable! Some chick peas, cabbage, maybe some beets or egg plant. Oh! And some potatoes and carrots.


Awaze Tibs

Lamb sautéed with onions, green peppers, and other goodies. The injera really soaked up the sauce on this one.


Qey Wot


Almost a soup, it was a tad salty, but quite delicious. Similar spices to the Awaze Tibs, but unfortunately seemed to lack the onions and peppers. It’s served in a bowl rather than dumped on the bread like the other dishes. To end the meal, we enjoyed some…


Ethiopian Coffee


The cups are really tiny – like espresso. It’s strong, but smooth. But if you don’t like it bitter, you can always add some sugar. They conveniently serve the coffee with a comparatively large dish of sugar. For each cup ordered. I think there was as much sugar in the sugar dishes as coffee in the cups. I added a tiny spoon full of sugar, leaving me to wonder what they do with the rest of that sugar. Perhaps best not think about it too much.

They had some sort of advertisement for the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, which looked interesting. They even had a table on display that looked like it was for that purpose, though why I didn’t take a photo of it is beyond me.

Getting There

*EDIT* - Club Zion only serves dinner on the weekends! Weekdays they are just a bar I guess.

Zion Club served some delicious dishes, so I’ll probably want to go back some time to try the others out! If you want to try out their Ethiopian cuisine, it’s easy to find the place. Take exit 3 from Itaewon station and hook a right at the first light. It’s on the left side of the road on the very first intersection. You can’t miss it!

Or you could punch any of these coordinates into your handy-dandy map app!

Yongsan-gu, Itaewon-dong 126-16

Usadan-ro 14 gil 3

Or in Korean:

용산구 이태원동 126-16


우사단로 14길 3

Enjoy! I know I’ll be back.

A Tiny Funeral


Chuseok is the Korean harvest festival. One of the most important aspects of this holiday is honoring of one’s ancestors. The family will visit the family tomb. There they will clean the tomb and prepare a meal on a stone table. For some this is an offering to the ancestor’s spirit to bring them luck, for others its a way to keep the memory alive. For others it is just a motion they have to go through to placate the familial or societal expectations.

The morning after the three day Chuseok celebration of 2014 I went for an early morning walk, going further out of my way for my morning coffee ritual. At the foot of the stone steps was a dead mouse, laid out as if for a funeral. Tiny flowers strewn in mourning; a used cigarette placed in memory. Poor mouse, it was your favorite brand, wasn’t it? I never knew you, I know not how you lived or died, but your funeral table reminds me of others.

How do we remember and honor those who passed on? What minutia will others remember about me?


Netherlandia and the Pheasant Dumplings


Coming up with a name for your restaurant is hard. A common method is to just name your restaurant by what it serves. In Korea this works really well when many restaurants have basically one item on their menu. But what if you want something more sophisticated, something with a bit of a panache? That’s when we name it after a place or person that sounds exotic. So what’s a great name for a restaurant that specialises in pheasant dumplings?

Netherlandia of course.


Some friends and I traveled down to Pyeongchang last week to enjoy the weather, bike, hike around to celebrate Jo-anna’s birthday. Along the way we stopped by a place for a late breakfast. The combination of the name and the fact I hadn’t yet had pheasant dumplings made this a clear choice.

Pheasant dumplings, or Gwong Mandu (꿩만두), are basically mandu made with minced pheasant meat.


It’s quite good, but not extraordinarily different or exceptional. If you’ve had Korean styled steamed dumplings you have the basics. That said, they were very good specimens of mandu, so I would still recommend it if you have the chance. Just don’t go out of your way for it.



Netherlandia also serves pheasant in fried dumplings (군만두) and my favorite, manduguk. Average dish cost is about 6,000 won.


The restaurant also sells homemade wine. Nothing sophisticated, but if you like home made wines, it’s nice and sweet.

You can find Netherlandia here:


410 Uhang-ri, Ucheon-myeon
Hoengseong-gun, Gangwon-do

Or in Korean:

강원 횡성군 우천면 우항리 410




One could compare the gentrification of low-laying neighbourhoods like Samcheongdong to the zombification of a populous, eager to sell their souls for the hip young generation to drop by and spend their – or their parent’s – hard earned moneys. In this destruction of the local to the infection of syphoning cash, one store owner realises that the only good name is an ironic name: I AM BAGEL

The Post Apocalyptic Bakery

To be fair, I’m not actually against gentrification, so long as it provides some level of diversity and doesn’t ultimately harm the less fortunate residence of the area. While Samcheongdong is oversaturated with expensive restaurants and over-priced cafes, the other side of Gyeongbok Palace is just starting down that path. Jihye and I decided to explore those various districts. Already there are a handful of cafes and restaurants sprouting up midst the small brick apartment blocks and town houses.

As we wandered up Okin-gil, in Nusang-dong, we came across I AM BAGEL and, being hungry, decided that it might just hit the spot.


While you could just order a fresh bagel and spread, we decided to have a open mushroom sandwich, a Cobb salad with an Americano and Grapefruit juice to wash it down. While not outrageous… it wasn’t cheap.

IMG_4031 I’m a sucker for a nice bagel and mushrooms. Smother it with melted cheese and I’m in heaven.


IMG_4029The Cobb salad was scrumptious. The wooden bowl complimented the meal.

IMG_4030The interior has an industrial look to it. It all works well together, but I do have one gripe about my whole experience.

The grapefruit juice was utterly terrible. I don’t know how you mess up grapefruit juice, but they managed to remove the essence of the grapefruit and left a watery, pulpy, disappointment. I can’t tell if this is due to the restaurant being cheap, the workers being inexperienced, or some other unknown factor, but the lack of the delicious sourness left a sour note in my experience.

Grapefruit disaster aside, everything else worked well. If I’m in the area for a hike up Inwangsan, I’ll probably drop by again.


And yes, they do serve pickles for those so inclined to cleanse their palette in this way.

If you want to check out I AM BAGEL, try meandering toward this address:

종로구 누상동 20-4


Jongno-gu Nusang-dong 20-4

I think we can improve the photo.

I AM BAGEL with zombies

Much better.

Rock Scissors Paper



The Eternal Struggle


The title and theme evoke the childhood wonder and simplicity found in a game that distills the complex struggles of the world into a ‘this beats that’ triumvirate. The playfulness of the theme pervaded the work, from the haunting to the light hearted. Thirteen artists put forward their contributions towards the vision, but unlike rock-scissors-paper and death matches, all thirteen may leave.


In this show, rock represents three-dimensional work, scissors anything that has been cut and paper two dimensional works. While this allows much overlap, as the assignment was not scientific in the first, I will not feel fully bound in my own categorisation. Instead, let’s bound around the gallery, and see what was!


Between a Rock and a Hard Place


When I walked through the gallery door, the masks hung on the opposite wall popped out. Steven White‘s homages to Predator have a twist of the nostalgic mixed with an ironic trophy-like presentation. All possible through the miracle of UPVC! Might have to try this stuff out myself.


On the other end of the gallery stood a mannequin, instructions from the artist, Adele Louise Pedulla, hanging from it’s outstretched hand:

You are invited to indicate your insecurities on the corresponding part of the mannequin. Show the insecurity in anyway you feel appropriate. 

A set of black markers was made available, and by the night of the reception, the once lifeless, blank, creepy simulacrum was marked and ascribed various faults or perceived faults all over.


Large freckled dots covered the arms, an outline with ‘chubby vag’ written on the crotch, crows feet drawn under the eyes, among others, all made the mannequin feel somehow more real.


While the rest of the work is of a more two dimensional nature, Jo Turner’s photographs are decidedly ‘rock’ for me. They depict derelict stone work from South East Asia as it is embraced by nature, providing wonderful colour palates of an almost ancient and mystical nature.

A Run of Scissors


On the North wall, next to the snacks at the reception, hung the collage work of Marli Janse Van Vuuren. Two of her works relied on beautiful photography, one architectural, the other natural, cut into squares, edges bent upwards. This created a somewhat three dimensional effect as you pass by.


On the same wall were the multilayered expressions of Casey Madigan. Each work is an event, which, like any real-life event, has many layers of location, movement and personal meanings. Each shape and cut is organic and filled with a lighthearted serendipity.


A feeling of the antiquated, sepia toned collages and a peek into something not quite forbidden but probably frowned upon by ‘polite society’ marks Christopher Kramer’s submissions to the show. A beautiful touch was a tiny book made with silver pages, perched just below the work. I was mildly disappointed when I found there weren’t any extra images inside, but was quite blank. The booklet was either for writing notes or a metaphor to provoke thought, and since no writing utensils was provided, my guess is probably both.


Celebrating comics, cosplaying and bending characters’ gender is the work of Corey Malcolm Lajeunesse. Working off the comic page, a cosplayed female version of the character is imposed over the page, the piece titled appropriately: Thora, Spiderwoman, etc. The costumes pop off the page and unite the works thematically. Together nostalgic, adaptive and questioning, these pieces put a smile on my face.


Straight across from childhood nostalgia comes the nightmares. Faces, barely recognised, are mutilated, eyes and mouths are torn. A collaborative entry by Sidney Scallan and Juanita Hong, was at once the most human, and the most dehumanising of the show.


Papering the Walls


Now, if psychedelic poetry of the mind is more your thing, Sentmode‘s triptych had you covered. The three pieces lay horizontally over each other, with an eye gazing out from the top, oddly reminiscent or Sauron’s tower. Or Sauron’s reverse pagoda if that’s how you roll.


On the other hand Emily Read‘s water colors were much calmer addition. Combining portraiture with arabesque organic forms, she anthropomorphizes the seasons.


Delightfully macabre, CRN presented prints of the writhing undercurrents of the human psyche. Filled with dark wings, confused flight and parables of the dark fear and fascination of death, the works jumped out at the viewers. Not quite literally, but perhaps in future iterations.


Staring across from the macabre hung the more humanistic works of Tessa Guze. Her paintings rely on a strong color scheme and balance of space and person to emphasize empathy in the viewer.



The curator of the show, Martyn Thompson, installed a conceptual piece based on QR codes just under the masks. In effect, he created a large, yet informationally small icon of 10 by 7 ‘pixels’. Each pixel was a QR code placed inside a name tag holder. If you had decided to follow the links, you would have found a ten minute video clip of browsing Facebook, overlaid with either white or blue. Connecting in one’s mind which QR code is ‘white’ and which is ‘blue’ allowed the viewer to make out a tiny, crude Facebook ‘f’.


And then…


The star of the reception though had to be the performance by Lilith from Unending.  Performed with herself, a rock, a sheet of paper, two scissors and a giant blanket, Lilith’s performance reenacted the concept of rock-scissor-paper as an emotional struggle of overcoming one’s problems.


RSP-Lilith3As rock got covered, scissors cut rock, and rock smashed the very thing that freed it, I couldn’t help but feel the sense that we sometimes harm and scare away the very people who try to help bring us to light. Almost as if in shame, Lilith then took the aspect of rock herself and wrapped herself in a giant blanket, almost cocoon like. Safe inside, an outsider, comes in and cuts her open, and she is reborn, stronger and without shame.



-John Shrader

The Origins of ‘Ye-ha’


Mothers don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys

This evocative vocalization is indicative of the American cowboy. It is often used to represent joy and the foolhardy gung-ho ambition of the Wild West.

But where did this phrase come from?

Ye is actually a misspelling, from when English still used the letter ‘thorn’, which is pronounced ‘th’. However continental printing presses did not have that character, so some printers just used a ‘y’ instead. This is why you often see ‘ye olde tavern’ or whatnot. It’s actually just a ‘the’ using the surrogate ‘y’.

Thorn was long a thorn in the side of printers

Ha is an abbreviation for ‘hectare’, a measurement of land.

Thus ye-ha is properly pronounced ‘the-hectare’, though shortened for easy pronunciation. It was used by cowboys to vocally ward off competing cowboys, much like song birds sing to let their presence be known in their territory.

The territorial marking of hectares is an ancient practice.



Exhibit Review – Beyond Impressionism

Beyond Impressionism

Masterpieces from the Musée d’ Orsay

May 3 – August 31, 2014

National Museum of Korea


The approach to the National Museum of Korea is currently guarded by a 50ft tall lady holding a parasol. Her flowing gown mocks the visitors who traverse the vast grounds as they swim through the muggy Seoul air. But eventually we find ourselves under the massive outdoor atrium waiting for tickets.

Henri Rousseau’s Snake Charmer… luring in a few extra patrons

The ticket box promises the erotic Primitivism of Henri Rousseau. There are little statues of the creatures and characters from his painting populating the grounds outside. Great for photo-ops. Unfortunately for fans of Rousseau’s Naïve stylings, there is but the one painting, and it is hung just before the point of no re-entry.

Parisian life is rich in poetic, marvelous subjects. We are surrounded by the marvelous, which sustains us like air itself, but which we do not perceive.
-Charles Baudelaire, Salon de 1846

Beyond Impressionism is not about any individual artist though, despite the expectations created by the pamphlets and posters. Rather it is much more about the co-development of modern Paris and the beginnings of modern art – how they shaped and were shaped by each other. The collection becomes a narrative of sorts, where the Narcissism of the Parisian world is not only the backdrop, but a character that the artists we view embrace or reject.

The boulevards are not only the heart and the head of Paris, but also the soul of the entire world.
-Alfred Delvau, Les plaisirs de Paris, 1867

The exhibit is divided into six themed rooms, each focusing on a group of artists, plus a ‘prologue’ to set the scene and two ‘intersections’ providing more Parisian backdrops.

This just screams grandeur and self-importance. I think I made a Minecraft palace like this once.

The ‘prologue’ room consists of architectural designs and drawings of Paris’ reconstruction. Much fun for those of us who drool over maps and schematics, though of less interest for those not so inclined. Either way, the boulevards, the neoclassical apartments and the magnificent balloons soaring over the reborn city of light prepare you for the impressionists, the masters of light.

London Monet
Nothing says Paris like the Parliament building in London
I want to paint the air in which the bridge, the house and the boat are to be found – the beauty of the air around them, and that is nothing less than the impossible.
-Claude Monet, In a letter to Alice, 1893

In the first four segments we are treated to the impressionists and their parting of styles as each artist focused on what they saw as most important for their artistic vision. Degas’ dancers express movement, Monet’s landscapes subtle changes of light and Renoir’s portraits a return to classical emphasis on form. The loose, impromptu strokes of the impressionists give way to the more static, almost sterile Neo-Impressionists, here represented by the pointillism of Georges-Pierre Seurat and Paul Signac.

I want to paint men and women with that something if the eternal which the halo used to symbolize and which we seek to confer by actual radiance and vibration of our colorings.
-Vincent van Gogh, In a letter to Theo van Gogh, 1888

The calm of the Pointillists is contrasted by the more spiritual and intuition driven pieces from the likes of Gaugin, Cezanne, and the obligatory Van Gogh. Like Rousseau, there is only one Gogh though. The placing of these painters of the human soul is made more ironic by the placement of the ‘intersections’ of the Eiffel Tower and Parisian street life. While the contrast is a tad jarring, these rooms provide almost a palette cleanser in preparation of the last third of the exhibit.

Portrait of Paul Ranson as a prophet cosplayer painted by Paul Sérusier.
We need publicity, broad daylight, the street, the cabaret, the café, the restaurant,
to testify favorably or unfavorably about ourselves, to chat, to be happy or unhappy,
to satisfy the needs of our vanity or our mind,
to laugh or cry
-Alfred Delvau, Les plaisirs de Paris, 1867

The exhibit finishes with another contrast, the exaltation of the opulent versus the exaltation of the mystic or symbolic. Quite fittingly, ‘Paris: La Belle Époque’s walls are a deep red, emphasizing the decadence, while the final stretch of the Symbolists is a dark, almost cave like experience.

We should remember that a picture – before a war horse, a nude woman, or telling some other story – is essentially a flat surface covered with colors arranged in a particular pattern.
-Maurice Denis, Definitions of Neo-Traditionalism, 1890
All right folks, the review is over. Make sure you take all your belongings with you.

Unless you are jaded or have been over-exposed to Impressionism, ‘Beyond Impressionism’ is a nice walk through the cultural exuberance and artistic dominance of late 19th France.

It’ll cost you 12,000w per adult, though various memberships could cut that down a bit.

You can get to the Museum easily by taking line 4 to Ichon station.

Or just punch this into your map of choice:

서울특별시 용산구 서빙고로 137

A Serendipity of Sight – Sentimental Scenery II

IMG_3770If you decide to casually stroll down Insadong on one of these fine, rainy days, perhaps you’ll come across a few posters for one show or another. And since this bank like place seems to also be a gallery, you figure you might as well step out of the rain for a moment. Check it out.


What do we have here?

Sentimental Scenery II

Helen Chung Lee

LeeSeoul Gallery 

2014.6.18(Wed) ~ 6.30 (Mon)

청춘 달동네 (Moon Village) Archival Pigment Print on Canvas 61×101.6cm 2014

To an untrained eye, Helen’s work might appear to be abstract landscape paintings. And that would be mostly correct. The undulating shapes certainly do invoke alien yet familiar scenery.

바람의 기억 (Memory of the Wind) Archival Pigment Print on Canvas 61×101.6cm 2014

The pieces are actually photographs of mother-of-pearl, the scenes picked out like a cloud-watcher creates scenes from the bounty of the sky. Helen tweaks the colors to satisfy the emotive qualities the scene suggests to her.

내 안에 너 있다 (You & I) Archival Pigment Print on Canvas 71.1×71.1cm 2013

An integral part of Sentimental Scenery are the picture-title relationships. While many artists prefer leaving such abstract work untitled to prevent undue influence on the viewer, Helen enjoys the naming process.

“You name your children, I name my paintings.”

Usually a name jumps out at her as she works. The titles range from the somewhat poetic to the prosaic, usually aimed at describing a key focal figure or feeling in each piece.

펭귄 트리오의 여행 (Traveling Penguin Trio) Archival Pigment Print on Canvas 71.1×71.1cm 2014

To get your fix of pareidolia, you can catch a glimpse of Sentimental Scenery II through June 30th, 2014 at the LeeSeoul Gallery in Insadong.

LeeSeoul Gallery is on the second floor, just above the MG cash office, just north of the umbrella street. The elevator is just inside the cash office main doors.

LeeSeoul Gallery
Seoul, Jongno-gu, Insadong 23-2
2nd floor


서울종로구인사동 23-2
새마을금고 2층


Or, for you couch bound, latecomers, and people just not in the vicinity of Seoul, you can check out Helen’s website @

푸른 너울 춤추다 (Dancing Blue Waves) Archival Pigment Print on Canvas 89.0×147.3cm (35″x58″) 2013