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HAPPENINGText: Aki Ikemura

Guimet Museum is known to be a the museum with a great collection of Oriental art. Various types of important works from China, Japan, South Korea and other Aisan countries have been placed from the basement floor to the fourth. The museum is located in the sixteenth arrondissement is called the art museums and museums zone. The private temporary art museum, the anthropology museum, the oceanography museum are there. Moreover, this is near Trocadero which is a good place to look at the Eiffel tower so that many visitors are hanging around everyday. When was the last time I came to this area? I have heard that the interior design of the museum had been changed, but I cannot notice even that change. It must have been a very very long time since I visited here.

The aim of visiting Guimet Museum in this time was enjoying the special exhibition of Korean paintings. A collector of a massive collection which was on the ground floor is an on-active-service- Korean creator. To be honest, I did not expect any special things from the exhibition because somebody told me that this is just ‘old Korean paintings’. I just went there for the sake of friendship. However, the content was fantastic and I can declare that this is the most impressive exhibition I have seen in this year.

Korean paintings are totally different from Japanese and Chinese ones. In a good way, I was really shocked by the perspective of the paintings. For example, a fish is bigger than a ship and plants are bigger than a house in Korean paintings. They seemed to been painted very carefully and I could feel the special sense from them. They also seemed to be painted by adults with pure heart like children have. Many of paintings were produced in the eighteenth and nineteenth century but some of them were like surrealists’ works. A floating vase and a book in the air…feeling like being in wonderland. It does not matter if they are good or bad as paintings but in terms of technique, I can say that they are a bit low and this is another wondrous point of mine concerning Korean paintings. I guess the collector liked paintings which look like Art Brut. However, South Korea, that is close to Japan in distance and in culture, showed me a different face and my interest in the relationship between both countries has become deeper.

This is a great shame that I could not get any photos of this exhibition but the four painting of a floating vase series have been cleary imprinted in my mind. Why don’t you to add visiting Guimet Museum into your plan when you come to Paris? The exhibition lasts until the middle of January, 2002.

Nostalgies Coreennes
Date: October 18th – January 14th, 2002
Place: Guimet, Musee national des Arts asiatiques
Address: 6 Place d’Iena, 75016 Paris
Tel: +33 (0)1 5652 5300

Text: Aki Ikemura
Translation: Sachiko Kurashina

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