The Gem of the Art Museum, Director Q&A
Q1.Would you introduce yourself?
Hello, I am the director of Lee Ungno Museum, Lee Ji-Ho. I had served as a director in the Daejeon Museum of Art from 2004 to 2009. Also, I was a director in the M.M.C.A.(National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art) from 2009 to 2010. I’ve been working here from 2012 until now. As you can see, I have lots of work experience in public institutions.
Q2.Why did you decide to undergo this job?
I studied western painting in university. But, there was no art theory to study in college at that time, there was only practice, so I went to France and studied art theory and history at Paris 1 University. After getting a degree in Art Theory in Contemporary Art I came back to Korea and started to work in the administration field, funding painters. At first, I was a curator and then I became a director.
Q3.What was the most worthwhile thing in this job?
My occupation is to shed new light on the world of art and artists. Specifically, I am interested in shedding light on Lee Ungno, who passed away in 1989. He was born in1904 in Chuncheongnamdo, Hongsung. He went to France in 1958 and lived there until he passed away. He created many artworks in France, and worked in the field of art for a long time. Since he was away for a long period of time from his homeland, South Korea, his artwork was not known very well. Although the artist is gone, it is amazing to realize the eternity of his artwork. As I shed new light on Lee Ungno’s artwork, it is truly rewarding when many people feel the value of his work and sympathy. Lee Ungno is one of the significant values in our culture. He is a gemstone. My job is to find his place in the world of art because he is an important modern artist. The Lee Ungno Museum will further its reach globally, and make Lee Ungno Museum a landmark of Daejeon, like the Louvre Museum of Paris.
Q4.What is your main interest?
As a director of an art museum, there are many jobs to do in the art museum. Exhibiting is important. The base of the exhibit is collecting and inspecting information, and arranging the information properly. For this, the search and reading of information through Big Data is important. Also, analysis of the information is a crucial process before exhibiting the results. This is the most important duty of a curator. This process will also help develop the influence of the art museum.
Q5.What is the meaning of art to you?
Since I was young, I have heard many times the well known saying, “Life is short and art is long.” I did not understand the meaning at that time, but as years passed by I realized what it meant, especially while I have been working here. Although the artist is dead, the artwork is being highlighted again and again, even though 50 or 100 years have passed. I feel that art lives for all of eternity. We, as mortal creatures, desire something everlasting. I think one of these things is art. It’s a miracle to see artwork be revived again as the generations go by.
Q6. Would you introduce the Lee Ungno Museum and its features?
The Lee Ungno Museum is an artist museum like the Picasso museum. It opened in 2007, and is approaching the 10th anniversary of its founding. Lee Ungno, as I said, lived in Korea and overseas. The cultural heritage of France, and Lee Ungno’s artworks in France still remain. The museum constantly researches the artworks, and exhibits them to convey the value of the late Lee Ungno’s work. Furthermore, the museum communicates with the public through his work. The museum makes the lives of people more enriched. Plus, the museum plays a significant role in highlighting Daejeon as a global city. Also, the Lee Ungno Museum has continuously carried out cultural exchanges with overseas art museums. We had an exhibit with the Cernuschi Museum in France and made an agreement on the M.O.U. with them. Also, a group exhibit with Swiss La Chaux-de-fonds was held. Through group exhibits, Lee Ungno becomes widely known. Also, Daejeon is the only city in the world where a Lee Ungno Museum is located.
Q7. Tell us what you would like to say as a director. Last but not least, do you have a message for the students?
Some cities have their own famous art museum such as the ‘Tate Modern’ of London, the ‘Ponmpidou Center’ of France and the ‘Florance Museum’ of Rome. In Daejeon, the Daejeon Museum of Art and the Lee Ungno Museum are famous. I know that Chungnam National University has no course to be a curator, because it does not fit with the present trends. The studies of archaeology and ancient art are important, but also contemporary art and history matter. Universities should look beyond, into the future. I believe a major with practical value should be made. Art museums need skillful curators, not only artists. Universities only develop artists. I hope there will be courses made for the administration of art in CNU. A change has to be made. It will help develop the culture of Daejeon. Students should continuously question the education they are taking and persuade adults to make a space for their occupation. Demand your needs.
by Yu-Jin Ahn, CP Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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