There were a lot of things that surprised me about Seoul. How similar it felt to my hometown and the instant familiarity that came with that. The mountains that I didn’t know surrounded it. And of course, the delightful discovery that Seoul could give Paris a run for its money in terms of the sheer number of museums it has. But probably the thing that surprised me the most was how much less expensive the entrance fees to all of those museums were.
Take for example my visit to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. It’s located inside the grounds of the Deoksugung Palace, so I will admit that my visit to the museum was not planned. I went to see the palace, but upon discovering the museum, I knew I had to add an additional stop to that day’s sightseeing itinerary. Especially when I discovered that the museum was hosting a retrospective of Moon Shin, one of Korea’s top contemporary artists. I got in line for a ticket with a 10,000 won note in hand, already digging around in my bag for another one, when the woman behind the counter informed me that the entrance fee was a mere 2,000 won. Excuse me? I could see this incredible exhibition for the equivalent of 1.50 euros? Not going to lie. I may have considered moving to Seoul right there and then.
This price tag only became more impressive as I took in the exhibition. It was spread out over four rooms and two levels, tracing Moon Shin’s career from painter to sculptor. There were dozens of his works on display, including a model of his iconic sculpture created for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. Interestingly enough, Moon Shin spent over 20 years of his career in Paris, so perhaps I’ve already come across his work in the past. I’ll have to look into it. But all in all, it was an incredible way to spend an hour, and I would have happily paid much more for the experience.
Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!