On October 1st, CBT reporters visited the Cheongju National Museum of Contemporary Art located in Naedeok-dong. It was opened in Cheongju in December 2018 as the fourth contemporary art museum after Gwacheon, Deoksugung Palace and Seoul. The museum, which used to be a tobacco factory, was rebuilt to preserve history, symbolism and to harmonize with the surrounding landscape by maintaining existing forms such as chimneys. Therefore, at first glance, CBT reporters felt like a factory more than an art museum because of chimneys and container boxes. Also, the entrance to the art museum was interesting because it looked like a hill covered with grass.
[ Open Storage and Special Storage ]
Cheongju National Museum of Contemporary Art is museum preservation center for specialized works and preservation and the first museum in Korea for storage. The museum was free of charge, but CBT reporters recommend making a reservation in advance. The museum’s open storage on the first floor was formed based on the collections of the museum, the government and the Art Bank. The open storage is to open the collection, which is the basic component of the museum, to viewers in a state of being housed. It can be said to be an expanded concept art museum where visitors can not only appreciate a vast amount of works but also know the invisible function of the art museum. As soon as people entered the open storage room of the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Cheongju, they could feel that it is like a warehouse that kept goods rather than the appearance of art galleries that people commonly know. In the storage, various works were divided by period, such as from 1950 to 1990, as well as overall explanations of each era and explanations of the art market. In addition, in the storage and conservation science room on the third floor, it is possible to observe the storage and preservation status of representative collections through a window. Rather than just looking at artworks, people will be able to have an in-depth understanding of art by looking at the preservation process of artworks directly.
In the special storage on the fourth floor, people can see about 800 drawing collections owned by the National Museum of Contemporary Art. Special storage is carried out under thorough management, prioritizing the functions of collection management and preservation. 10 people per hour were allowed to enter, and managers are striving to preserve the works by providing indoor shoes and overshoes. There were many works displayed in the special storage, but there were also works that have not yet been opened and only kept. In addition, there were media materials such as explanations and videos that could help each artist understand the artist’s art world and works by setting up a separate space for each artist. <The National Museum of Contemporary Art Drawing Collection> was being conducted with the significance of providing an opportunity to encounter conceptual changes, patterns, and various perspectives on drawing through drawing works owned by the museum. CBT reporters were able to watch a video of the artist’s process of producing a drawing work, and it was able to appreciate it in depth.
[ Cheongju Craft Biennale ]
Located next to the museum, there were several shops, cafes and restaurants on the first floor of the Cheongju Cultural Manufacturing Center. After eating lunch at a restaurant located on the first floor, the reporters watched the Cheongju Craft Biennale held at the Cultural Manufacturing Center. This is a cultural event that reads and expresses the emotions of contemporaries in a harmonious balance between daily life and artistry. It is held once in two years by gathering domestic and foreign crafts in all fields of crafts such as ceramics, woodworking, textiles, and metals. The theme of this exhibition was ‘Tools of Consistence.’ It consisted of 4 parts. Part 1 was ‘labor-object archaeology’, Part 2 was ‘life-daily aesthetics’, Part 3 was ‘division of language sensitivity’, and the last Part 4 was ‘Archive-replacement of tools.’ Works made of materials and tools commonly found in everyday life were displayed. Moreover, people can touch and appreciate the works, the reporters could appreciate look at art outside the hard frame of appreciating the existing works of art. Before appreciating the work, there were descriptions of each part and brief introductions and exhibition intentions on the wall, so the reporters were able to appreciate the exhibition deeply. Also, by setting the atmosphere of the exhibition differently for each part, it was possible to maximize the effect of appreciating the work, and although not all works, several works could listen to audio guides, which helped to appreciate the work.
Also, ‘The Cheongju Craft Biennale’s main exhibition connection program was in progress. The program was in progress by divided into Becoming a Craft, Be My Guest, and Craft Exploration_Into the Sea. Becoming a Craft was a program that made crafts by using an artist’s Art production kit. People who participated in this program said, “I think it will be memorable to be able to make my work, not just see the crafts.” In the Be My Guest program, the reporters could feel the value and role of the craft culture used in upcycle activities and daily life to help regenerate resources, by making crafts with the artists participating in this exhibition. Lastly, in Craft Exploration_Into the Sea, the reporters could watch various crafts which embodied numerous creatures under the theme of ‘Protecting the Marine Environment.’ The Cheongju Craft Biennale, which collects and displays crafts from all over the world every two years, is said to be the world’s largest and highest level, so it would be good for people who have the interest to visit at least once.
[ MMCA Cheongju Project 2021 Chen Dai Goang: Dreams of the Perfect City ]
Cheongju Project is an exhibition designed to provide a venue for new and senior artists in Korea to conduct various experiments and produce works using a large outdoor space. As soon as entering the Cheongju National Museum of Contemporary Art, houses of various colors displayed in the grass square in front of the museum attracted attention. Various shapes and sizes of houses gathering felt like seeing a village. It was interesting that it can be found the house by entering personally. Also as the sky became dark like an actual house, the lights turned on, so visitors will be able to see the beautiful night view together. Depending on the content of the work, each piece is largely divided into a ‘memory space’ and an ‘imaginary space.’ On the outside, it looks beautiful due to its various colors and shapes. However, when looking closely at the form of architectural sculptures and the materials used, implying the memory of modernization that human has experienced. The artist said that the work was created to think about what the ideal space for the future will be. It will be open until 2022 July, the reporters recommends going to people who have an interest in it.
[ Artificial Garden, the Border Between Us ]
In addition to the special exhibition room on the 5th floor of the Cheongju National Museum of Contemporary Art, a special exhibition called ‘Artificial Garden, The Border Between Us’ is being held outdoors. This exhibition talks about a human-centered mindset and a view of thinking about animals and plants in the current crisis where the meaning of the boundary of relationships is embedded in multiple layers. As soon as entering the museum, Human Cage was displayed, and it is a work that reflects the lives of people living in invisible frames and boundaries while allowing them to experience the conditions of trapped animals indirectly in cages. Leaving this behind, at the first entrance of the special exhibition room on the fifth floor, garbage and objects commonly used in our daily lives are piled up and displayed, attracting attention. This made people think about how objects they took for granted in our daily lives affect other creatures living on Earth and what efforts they should make to live with nature. The exhibition was divided into a total of four themes: Between Us, Awkward Coexistence, City and Nature, At Its Border and To Live Together. In each exhibition, people can see not only paintings but also works that embody themes using photographs, videos, and various media. This exhibition visualizes the visible/invisible boundaries between them, looking at humans and nature, especially animals and plants within the relationship of ‘we.’ In addition, on the third floor, an exhibition, linked education program of Artificial Garden, named The Border Between Us is in progress. The program provided an opportunity to look at the world from the perspective of insects, think about our meaning, and remind works. This was divided into youth ideals and infants, and it was time to organize what the reporters felt at the exhibition and thoughts through the exhibition.
In this article, exhibitions of Cheongju National Museum of Contemporary Art were introduced. Some exhibitions are currently over, but there are still ongoing exhibitions, and there are various markets which can make people happy just only watching and exhibitions where visitors can learn the history of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, so the reporters recommends visiting the museum for people who have interests.