Korean Print-making through the Decades at MET Museum Manila

When it comes to art, how far would you like to know?

Korea's National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) Curator Yoon-Jung Hwang took us back to the 1950's on how the amazing craft on Korean print-making started, specifically on woodblock print on Korean paper with the pioneering artist Yoo Kang-youl, during the media conference held at White Cube Gallery, Metropolitan Museum of Manila.  

For starters, we were graced with an opening introduction from the President of Metropolitan Museum of ManilaTina P. Colayco, and MET Museum DirectorSandra Palomar-Quan about the Fifty Years of Korean Contemporary Print-making Exhibit that will be open to public and will run from August 1 to 23, 2013.

In an effort to heighten the presence of Korea in Southeast Asia, Korea Festival in ASEAN program on ASEAN member countries has been staged since May 2013 that features a variety of cultural events, including diverse performances and exhibitions, along with lecture presentations to share Korea’s “success stories” with local audiences. 

Of note, the Fifty Years of Korean Contemporary Printmaking exhibit, a highlight of the Korea Festival in ASEAN program, is being presented by the Korea Foundation, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila

We were given the first viewing of more than 70+ (from its collection of more than 300) items of Korean artworks and print-making collection that goes all the way from the Early Stages (1950's) with Yoo Kang-youl's famous woodblock print—A fish in the mountain, Han Yong-jin's Work 62 in 1960's The Formation Stage, Kim Sang-yu's No. EXIT (Room without an exit) in 1970 of The Spread Stages (1970-1980's), Paik Nam-june's Lee Taebaeck Captivated in Color, copperplate print in 1984 to Minjung (the people's) Woodblock Printmaking that includes Hwang Jai-hyoung's A Coal Miner, until the 1990's Diversification Stage like Kang Ai-ran's Cool Mind Flat 1-2-3, aluminum casting.     

Chung Kyu, Circus (1956); Choi Young-rim (1950); Lee Hang-sung, Nirvana (1958); Chung Kyu, Abstract (1950); Yoo Kang-youl, A fish in the mountain (1950)   

 Kim Sang-yu, No. EXIT (room without an exit) 1970

 Song Burn-soo, Take CoverⅠ,Ⅱ,Ⅲ (1974)

 Kim Joon-kwon, Blue Bird (in the honor of the General Kim Bong-jun) 1987

Kang Ai-ran, Cool Mind Flat 1-2-3 (1999) 

Oh Yi-yang, Existence (1994) 

This is one of my favorites! :)

Min Joung-ki, Gate for a Forest 1 and 2 (1986)

The technique used has something to do with Shadow Play photography, but with a twist of film-projector reflecting the subject. 

And this one reminds me of Cecile, who is also a sucker for Coke! Hehe :)

Han Un-sung, Giant II (1981); Han Un-sung, Greedy Giant (1974) 

With an overview of the artistic achievements of Korean printmaking, the exhibit covers a wide range of processes like wood print, copper print, lithography, silkscreen, and digital print, which result in unique print works. There are also examples of whimsical printmaking works of the world-renowned artist Nam-june Paik, as well as various award-winning works and representative works of printmaking that were created amidst the pro-democracy movement in the 1980s, along with abstract printmaking works of the post-war period. By displaying works of various methods and times, the exhibition reveals the features of Korea’s modern arts and its evolution over time.

From left to right: Fralynn Manalo, MET Museum PR and Marketing; Dr. Hyung-min Hwang, MMCA Director; Dr. Hyun-Seok Yu, Korean Foundation President; Tina P. Colayco, MET Museum President, Sandra Palomar-Quan, MET Museum Director; Keum-Jin Yoon, Korea Foundation Director; Yoon-Jung Hwang, MMCA Curator; MMCA-Korea Foundation Marketing and organizers 

The exhibit also represents a meaningful endeavor for Korea and the Philippines to effectuate cultural exchange, is being presented so that ASEAN audiences can better understand and appreciate the creativity of Korea’s print artists. The exhibition is a rare opportunity for the people of the Philippines to experience this different aspect of Korean culture. Korea’s modern printmaking can serve as a catalyst for ASEAN countries to expand their cultural exchange activities with Korea.

On August 1 at 3pm, Dr. Chung Hyung-min, the Director of MMCA will conduct a special lecture at the MET while on August 1 at 10am, Ms. Hwang Yoon-jung, MMCA Curator is set to deliver a curator’s talk.

The Fifty Years of Korean Contemporary Printmaking Exhibit will run from August 1 - 23, 2013.

The Metropolitan Museum of Manila is located at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Manila and opens from 10am – 5:30pm, Monday to Saturday. 

For questions and inquiries, contact (02) 708-7829 or send an email at marketing@metmuseum.ph.

Related articles:

Visit to the MET Museum: Claudio Bravo Sojourn in Manila
Riverscapes IN FLUX at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila 


  1. Seeing photos of the artworks gave me a high! I so want to go there in Manila just to see this exhibition. I've been painting mostly in coffee but I would also like to try print making. This is very exciting indeed, and I do hope you will post more art events in your blog.

  2. The exhibit looks cool with neat stuff. The trampled coca cola artwork is really eye catching.

  3. Wow! Koreans are such talented people. akala ko oang Koreanovela lang sila. But their art creations are awesome, specially that of 'pinitpit na lata ng Coke'.

  4. Beautiful! I love looking at all those artworks, I am quite curious about the story behind No Exit.

  5. WOOOWW!!!. I've always been the nerd one in the class I guess. One who loves museums. It is just so magical, so creative and so many stories unravel with each artwork while you are taken into a different time. And to think these pieces were dated back from 1950s and spanned more than 50 years make them more interesting....

    The Koreans' creativity is really admirable. I am becoming a fan now, huh!

  6. This is something worth seeing. Blue Bird caught my eyes, i was fascinated with the brush-like strokes and yes, Gate for the Forest 1 & 2 are lovely, indeed. :D

  7. It's the coke artwork that really got my attention. The rest are also awesome.

  8. Those paintings are awesome. It's amazing how each personality from different culture and country express their thoughts and creativity through the art of paint. The gallery is worth a visit!

  9. Koreans like the Filipino are also very talented from Telenovela to singing and dancing, and even this one in the world of arts.

  10. It's been a long time already since I last visited an exhibit like this.. They are very talented and I love their work.

  11. I've always found art to be interesting. I don't know much about Korean art and this exhibit seems like a good way to start learning about it.

  12. These pieces are unique! It seems like they have a different appreciation with art :)

  13. wow, some of the arts were way back decades ago... it's nice to know that the had preserved them well. Yahweh bless. ralph

  14. I like contemporary art, and what you showed here is no exception. The Take Cover ones I like a lot, and the crushed coke can really stood out (mainly because I'm so not a coke fan).

  15. Amazing woodblock print. I wonder if we have the same print-making works of art too. - KarenT


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