OWL Magazine Korea

Samcheong-dong Gallery ‘Hakgojae’ in Seoul

In the area of Bukchon Village or Samcheong-dong in Seoul, you can find various galleries. Bukchon Village is an area located between Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung Palaces, where many high-ranking officials have lived since ancient times.

Currently, it has become famous as a “Hanok Village,” and starting with the “Bukchon 8 Scenic Views,” it has become a must-visit attraction in Seoul for foreigners, preserving the traditional Korean atmosphere.

“Diverse Galleries in Bukchon Village”

In Bukchon Village, you can find various large and small galleries all around. Especially, on the east side of Gyeongbokgung Palace’s stone wall road, you can see various galleries lined up, including the “National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.”

“The Place ‘Hakgojae’ Can Also Be Found”

Likewise, the place called “Hakgojae” can be found along this street, and it is a gallery inside a hanok (traditional Korean house) that can be found across from the “National Folk Museum of Korea.”

“Since 1988, Gallery Located in a Hanok Building, ‘Hakgojae'”

Below is an introduction to Hakgojae from the Hakgojae website:

“Hakgojae opened its doors in 1988 in Seoul, the economic center of Asia. Situated at the heart of Korea’s art market, which has undergone rapid growth, Hakgojae has pointed out the direction in which Korean art should harmonize and grow within the contemporary global culture.

The name ‘Hakgojae’ is derived from the Confucian saying in the Analects, ‘Learn the old to create the new.’ Learning the old does not simply mean accumulating knowledge about the past. In Korea, which fell behind in modernization, experienced colonialism, and suffered the tragedy of division between North and South, learning the old is accompanied by a profound self-reflection. Under the correct understanding and reflection on history, boldly opening oneself to actively participate in the global cultural flow embodies the spirit of ‘Learning from the past to innovate for the future.’ This ideology and orientation have grown Hakgojae into a gallery that connects tradition and modernity, local and global. Hakgojae’s identity is clearly revealed through the exhibitions it has held over the years… (excerpt)”

“A Gallery Open to the Public for Free, ‘Hakgojae'”

Hakgojae is a gallery open to the public for free, a place where anyone can visit without any burden. When you enter the building, you can view a special space displayed like a gallery inside a hanok.

Of course, it may be a bit distant to call it a traditional hanok building, and it may be more appropriately referred to as a modified hanok. However, the impressive use of the hanok to preserve the traditional Korean atmosphere while utilizing it as a gallery is quite notable.

“Choi Won-jun: Capital Black Exhibition”

When I visited Hakgojae, the exhibition on display was “Choi Won-jun’s ‘Capital Black.'” The description of the exhibition can be found below.

Choi Won-jun explores diplomatic, political, and cultural relations between Africa and East Asia, revealing the hidden structures of relationships within the macro trends of international affairs from a microscopic perspective. In this exhibition, ‘Capital Black,’ the artist focuses on the lives and cultures of African migrant workers residing in Korea, documenting them through photographs and videos, and also collaborates with them in his work. The exhibition uncovers the diversity hidden under the guise of ‘black’ and examines the relationship between. Africans residing in Korea and Korea.

Africans began immigrating to Korea for labor from the early 1990s, and this phenomenon has influenced and transformed the landscapes of Dongducheon, Paju, and Songtan areas, which were within the flow of South Korea’s Cold War ideology. Choi Won-jun approaches the lives and cultures of African migrant workers in Korea with meticulous care, unraveling stories related to communities, regions, and labor.

More and more multinational migrant workers are entering Korea’s production labor market, and therefore, the changing landscapes of Dongducheon, Paju, and Songtan areas foreshadow the future that will come to the entire Korea. What Choi Won-jun records and studies becomes not only a task for multicultural society but also the past, present, and future of Korea.

“You Can Check Exhibition Details Online at Hakgojae”

Hakgojae is currently making information about ongoing and past exhibitions available online. Thanks to this, you can also check descriptions and works online, and even if you missed out on any artwork, you have the advantage of being able to review it online.

Of course, there may be a difference between visiting in person to appreciate the artworks and checking information online, but nonetheless, there is a difference in being able to revisit any missed artworks online.

Artworks, descriptions, and related articles are well-archived. It’s a must-visit attraction in Bukchon Village for those interested in art.

“Seoul Samcheong-dong Gallery, Hakgojae”

  • Address: 50 Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Phone: 02-720-1524
  • Website: http://www.hakgojae.com
  • Operating Hours: (Tue-Sat) 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Closed on Mondays, Sundays