The former domicile of an artist has been left neglected for at least three years. That was when my friends first came across it. I remember the enthusiasm Lex had when she discovered the artwork. Lex really connected with the art and wanted to find a way to stage an art show for this orphaned art. It’s located in a depressed area of Gwangju that is on its last legs. The former resident was a dedicated painter. Stacks of landscape portraits, signed by the artist, have been left exposed to the elements. Pictures of the artist and his friends provide some context to how he lived his life. Some old Korean pop cassettes sit on a shelf, giving a rough estimate of his age. Over half the space is dedicated to producing art. A small bedroom and kitchen are the living spaces. Around the corner of from this deserted hanok (한옥, a traditional Korean house) lies the Printer’s House. Another hanok that was a residence and doubled as a printing/bookbinding business. More about this place on a future post. For now, I invite you to step into the artist’s abode….
First, some shots of the space itself.
And let’s explore his taste in music. He seemed to like old Korean pop, also called bbongjjak (뽕짝). It’s usually played with synthesizers and has a disco beat. The music connects with men and women of a certain age. Young Koreans think it’s cheezy and out-dated. I, myself have a place in my heart for it. It’s energy it tremendous; watching the middle-aged and elderly rock out is infectious. This and drinking parties are one of the few social outlets where you can see people really let loose in public.
Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter. The artwork!
Upon seeing the canvases produced, I understood why my friend Lex wanted to put on a viewing of the artist’s work. He was a skilled painter of Korea’s natural beauty. Most of his pieces took place in rural settings where humans co-exist with nature. The artist used vivid colors to depict the lucid reds, yellows, and greens experienced in Korean autumn. It seems he was dedicated to showing the beauty of the four seasons of Korea.
Finally, here is some documentation of the artist’s social life. During explorations, I hope to come across evidence of the previous residents. For me, the relics left behind breath life into an empty, neglected space.