Korea in Color: A Legacy of Auspicious Images

Korea In Color

Explore the mesmerizing world of color and heritage at the Korea in Color: A Legacy of Auspicious Images special exhibition, open from October 28, 2023, to March 3, 2024, at the San Diego Art Museum.

This exceptional exhibition casts a spotlight on the profound role of color in Korean painting, particularly the captivating art form known as polychrome painting (chaesaekhwa). Embark on a journey that delves deep into Korean art and culture, tracing the threads of color through history. During the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910), the vibrant tradition of polychrome painting flourished, infusing symbolic images into both sacred and secular contexts, leaving an indelible mark on society.

Bringing together contemporary artworks and carefully selected masterpieces from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this exhibition weaves a dynamic narrative. Presenting fifty captivating works, it engages in a thought-provoking dialogue between the past and present, shining a spotlight on the enduring influence of color and auspicious imagery. Spanning diverse mediums, from painting and sculpture to prints, video, and multimedia installations, these artworks celebrate the enduring legacy of color.

Korea in Color beckons you to rediscover the profound role art played in everyday Korean life. The exhibition revolves around four key themes that resonate deeply with the essence of a traditional household:

  • Protection at the Threshold: Uncover the symbolic guardianship of animals at the doorstep.
  • Abundance and Longevity: Immerse yourself in symbols of prosperity and endurance found in the garden.
  • Scholarly Pursuits: Explore the wisdom encapsulated in scholarly objects and books.
  • Nature's Reverie: Gaze upon the majestic mountains that extend beyond the walls of the home.

These themes are anchored in four fundamental aspects of traditional Korean painting: Byeoksa (protection against evil spirits), Gilsang (good fortune), Gyohun (edification), and Gamsang (appreciation). This exhibition prompts contemplation about how these qualities intertwine with the fabric of modern life.

Korea in Color: A Legacy of Auspicious Images is a collaborative masterpiece brought to you by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, in partnership with the Korean Culture and Information Service, Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles, and The San Diego Museum of Art. This exhibition invites you to journey through time, color, and symbolism, immersing yourself in the captivating panorama of Korean artistic expression.

Featured: Seongpa, Fierce Tiger Woke Up (detail), 2012. Lacquer on panel. 63 25/32 x 224 13/32 inches.
Featured: Seongpa, Fierce Tiger Woke Up (detail), 2012. Lacquer on panel. 63 25/32 x 224 13/32 inches.

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