Over the last ten years, the South Korean city of Seoul has undergone some of the most rapid changes inits entire history; now the place is almost unrecognizable. As increasing numbers of creative styles havemade their way out of the city’s cultural woodwork, a series of different arts quarters have found theirfooting; making a trip across the vast metropolis now is very much like journeying through a cultural collage. No two districts are artistically alike and whether an area boasts a glut of contemporary art galleries, cultural organizations or independent artists, there is something in Seoul for everyone.
Located at the heart of the city’s Samcheong district, the PKM Gallery is in the midst of something really exciting. Founded a little over ten years ago, the space has featured some of the most exciting local and international artists, fashioning itself as a major cultural player in the space. Since its inception, the gallery has shown at international events like Art Basel, Art Hong Kong, and Art Fair Tokyo, showing the rest of the world exactly what Seoul has to offer the arts scene.
With branches in both South Korean city Daegu and Seoul, Leeahn Gallery is making waves across the entire country. While there might be a great range of art on offer inside the gallery, it is the design on the outside that has made the most headlines. Featuring a sleek and minimalist outer casing, the gallery is finished off with an Anthony Gormley sculpture which sits atop the roof. Despite the locals’ initial dislike of the figure, the gallery has since become an important part of the neighborhood scene, bringing an alternative and very contemporary approach to culture to the district.
Since being founded in 1999, Project Space SARUBIA has brought together creatives from all walks of life, nurturing an artistic approach founded on inclusivity for all. Devoted to architecture, music, film, dance,and the fine arts, the gallery drives new cultural concepts and projects, bringing new artists to the forefront of the local and international scene. The basement space is renowned for showcasing some of the most experimental shows in Seoul, and is a great place to get a glimpse of the next big thing in the city.
With a focus weighted towards Chinese art and artists, Artside Gallery is doing something unseen elsewhere in the art world: introducing new artists to the South Korean population. Since opening its doors in 1999, the space has led the way in artistic negotiations between Korea and China, helping artists to get seen by wider and more diverse audiences. The place remains one of the best areas in which to feast upon some Chinese art, be it classical or contemporary.
Located in one of the most picturesque areas of the region, the Gana Art Center presents a kind of art rarely seen in Seoul, focusing on the history of both Korea’s and the wider world’s art scene. As well as showcasing a huge variety of historical art pieces, the Gana Art Center is also home to some of the most interesting live performances and open air concerts in Seoul, using the natural environment as a way of enhancing the experience.
Exciting, unexpected and undeniably surprising, Seoul is a place that is truly working wonders for both the local and the international art scenes. Dedicated in its pursuit of new and experimental creations, the city is responsible for shaping the works of many people around the world, forming its own and very niche artistic vision.