The Modern Art Museum of Gunsan is the perfect place for art lovers since they hold temporary exhibitions each month. This museum is where you can see exclusive art pieces from known artists from the country as well as local artists.
But what is better is that you are able to get to know about the history of the city. As this place is divided into two floors. On the first one, you can find art exhibitions. While on the second one, you can read about the history of an important figure of Korea who is An Jung-geun (안중근). Now, let us take a look in depth at this place!
What the art exhibition hall used to be
What makes this place a must visit when coming to Gunsan, is the fact that it had a role in the Japanese colonial period (1910 ~ 1945). It was constructed in 1911 as the Gunsan branch of the Japanese 18th Bank which was settled in Korea in 1907 as a financial institution.
Back then, Japanese became wealthy by illegally exploiting lands in Korea and selling the rice produced on the lands. They made money out of them through the capital of this bank. But finally, they sold it in 1936 and 1938, respectively, to Joseon Industrial Bank and then to the Joseon Rice Storage Company.
What the Art Exhibition Hall is Now
Since Feb 28, 2008, it has been used as a modern art museum that art lovers must visit in Gunsan. This museum is a place where lots of artists showcase their artworks through expositions, of course. The exhibitions are temporary, meaning that they often change their exhibitions.
Gunsan Tour Stamp
When coming in, the first thing that you will see is the stamp tour zone. To do this activity, you must get a map from the station or the tourist office first. The map has a spot to fill with stamps. Since it is fun to do, and can be a great memory to carry, I recommend that you do this mission, of course. Plus you will get to know what other places you must visit in this city as you do the mission.
The Origin of Eternal Rhythm
As we mentioned before, these exhibitions are temporary. Therefore, the one I saw back then, is not there anymore. But still I’d like to introduce the exhibition I saw since you can get an idea of how famous most of the artists that participate in this.
The exhibition I saw was called ‘The Origin of Eternal Rhythm’. Which showcases 24 stone and bronze art pieces from the late sculptor Park Jong-dae who donated 109 works to Gunsan city in 2014.
What Is the Exhibition About?
This exhibition featured the world of this artist who tried to convey the meaning of Ying-yang. This is to create a harmonious reality with the thinking of ‘One, not two’. What makes these art pieces important surely is Park Jong-dae who worked with various textured materials. He collected during his pilgrimage to the mountains and around the world including China, Italy, Iran and Pakistan.
Plus he also used granite and bronze materials. That makes these art pieces stand out due to their beauty. It was surely surprising to see the trust that the city has on their people.
About the late sculptor Park Jong-dae
Park Jong-dae(1941 ~ 2011) was a sculptor that graduated from Seoul National University’s art college. He worked as an artist through individual and group exhibitions at home and abroad. He, as well, worked hard to train artists as an educator in Gunsan University.
One great thing about seeing these type of artworks, is the fact that it is one who gives it meaning. While the artist might want to convey something in particular, it is us who look for a relation to our feelings. Due to this, it gives you a sensation of comfort.
A bit of history
This art museum has more things to see besides the temporary exhibitions. As you can find the 18th Bank of Japan Building History Exhibition Hall. Which you can visit any time of the year. And consists of two floors.
The highlight of the second floor, is that it is dedicated to Ahn Jung-geun (안중근). Who killed Hirobumi Ito (이토 히로부미), the man that led the invasion of Korea.
Needless to say, you can read about his story. And history from that time. But something that really shocked me, is that it is said that his remains have not been found. However, they think that these are buried in a hill near to the prison of Lushun (여순).
The reason is that Japan was concerned that his grave would become a sacred place for the anti-Japanese movement. Due to that, they did not leave record of where he was buried.
Therefore, his tomb is located in a family tomb with no remains until now.
Since what he did was heroic, visitors are allowed to leave a message in the exhibition hall. So most of them, leave post-it to thank him for the sacrifice.
How to Get There
Address: 230 Haemang-ro, Jangmi-dong, Gunsan-si, Jeollabuk-do
From Gunsan Station, you can take bus no. 17, 18 or 19. And wait for 26 stops. Then, you need to get off at the bus stop ‘군산근대미술관’. And turn around. There, you will see the building.
The modern art museum in Gunsan, is a must visit for all art lovers. Since they showcase the works from famous artists. But what makes it better, is the fact that they let locals to participate in these events. Giving their citizens the chance to get recognition.
If you had already gone, what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!
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