Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A postcard from LEE Ungno's Hongseong

From his Hongseong birthplace, LEE Ungno enjoyed a view on two mountains he revered: he nicknamed the tall and rocky one 'father', and the gentler one 'mother'.

Unlike Cezanne's Montagne Sainte Victoire, these mountains don't appear recurrently his work, but the artist did draw them from memory in his prison cell, and certainly countless times in his mind during his exile in France. LEE died without seeing them again.

One more reason to enjoy the appeasing 'appasan' on a lovely August day, during the visit of the Goam Lee Ungno Birthplace Museum:

LEE Ungno's 'appasan'
The artist's home
Inaugurated in 2011, the museum itself blends in the landscape, and its earthen faces provide a unique natural air con system; even the outer walls exposed to a hot summer sun felt surprisingly cool.

twitter.com/theseoulvillage/status/636767305016279040
If, by contrast, it feels a bit austere inside, that's on purpose: the architect, JOH Sung-yong, kept in mind the artist's deprivation of freedom. Indeed, I could at the same time better focus on the collections, and better appreciate the landscape from well thought out openings.

Exposure time (with the architect, on Facebook)
Both cursed and gifted in many ways, Lee ventured into both figurative and abstract territories, using a great diversity of media with a sincere and sensitive authority. Of course, the biggest collection of his works is in the Daejeon museum. I'm jotting down below both addresses, plus the references for "이응노의 집, 이야기", a great book about the story of this special place in Hongseong:
  • Goam Lee Ungno Birthplace Museum: 386-1 Junggye-ri, Hongbuk-myeon, Hongseong-gun, Chungcheongnam-do. Tel: (041) 630.9232
  • Ungno Lee Museum of Art (architect: Laurent Beaudouin): 157, Dunsan-daero, Seo-gu, Daejeon. Tel: (042) 611.9821

"이응노의 집, 이야기" (이응노/수류산방중심/2012): Suryusanbang's book is available on Interpark.

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PS: if Hongseong has become the capital of Chungcheongnam-do, it remains a small provincial city with its traditional market (and great hanoo restaurants), and even an old style smithy.


To start with, the short trip from Seoul put us in the right mood; a laid back, time capsule of a train (Saemaeul) dropped us in a welcoming Chungnam landscape:

My last journey in a Saemaeul train was 23 years ago. This stewardess wasn't probably even born yet.
'Once upon a time in the West': Hongseong Station. No bad guys in dusters to wait for us (I forgot my Bronson harmonica anyway).

Seoul Village 2015
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