Calligraphy and Anime at the Seoul Art Centre


Despite the rain (we are in FULL RAINY SEASON right now) I was DETERMINED to get over to the Art Centre and see the Sin Saimdang – Lee Yulgok calligraphy exhibition. It can be tempting to remain draped over the sofa with barely enough strength to flutter a fan in this level of humidity, so I was pleased with myself as we set off.

Lee Yulgok (1536-1584) was one of the most prominent Confucian scholars of the Joseon period.  And he appears on the 5,000 won note! They were clearly a very famous family as his mother Sin Saimdang’s image is on the 50,000 won note. She was seen as a model of Confucian ideas. You can see images of Korean money here.


So as this was supposed to be an exhibition of fragile and old work, I was expecting to see an exhibition of just several select pieces carefully protected in glass cases. So I was ALARMED to find the exhibition hall covered from wall to wall in calligraphy scrolls. No glass frames or anything. I realised immediately that something was up. Yes, I had misunderstood – it was not an exhibition of the famous scholar and his mother’s work, it was an exhibition of the work of contestants in a calligraphy contest named after them 😕


But at least it had got us out of the house! And the calligraphy museum was very peaceful and quiet. And I had time to reflect on how I haven’t done any calligraphy practice yet this holiday! 😮

After looking around there I suggested we make another (yes, ANOTHER) attempt at getting into the Studio Ghibli Layout Design exhibition to see the layout prints of famous Japanese anime artists. This was the SECOND time we’d tried to get into the exhibition.


The exhibition is on till September so the first time we tried to get in I didn’t expect it to be so crowded. Now I know that at the weekends you can guarantee there’ll be a long line of people waiting to get in. It’s not the actual standing in line and waiting that I object to (within reason of course). The real problem starts when you enter the exhibition area and have to shuffle around shoulder to shoulder as one with the crowd. You can’t stroll about at your own pace or hover for even a moment to peruse a piece of particular interest. I know this because I’ve stood in these kinds of lines before. How innocent I was back then. Never again. 😉 I think the problem is that while there are lots of small galleries and exhibitions in Seoul, everyone wants to go and see the big famous ones and there are only a handful of those. So while the calligraphy museum was virtually deserted, the Hangaram Design Museum was heaving. Again. So we gave up. :( But the exhibition IS on until September …



%d bloggers like this: