It's Okay to Be Happy
It's Okay to Be Happy
  • Oh Hwang Junhee
  • 승인 2020.06.01 09:50
  • 댓글 0
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Unconsciously, people keep pictures of life in their minds. Recalling those pictures, people with either say, "happy" or "sad". Like this, people could feel differently though they may be looking at the same picture. It could be that an individual was merely having a hard day when they interpreted the picture as sad. SMT is asking readers to reflect on their true reasons for feeling bored with their daily routines and why they feel like life just doesn’t work out for them. Eddie Kang offers some words of encouragement and consolation with the idea, "We will be alright”.


I go my own way

Eddie Kang dreamed of being an artist as a young child. His dream was influenced by his mother who was an artist. He graduated from the University of Design in the United States and went on to participate in a number of individual and group competitions in China and New York. He then returned to Korea to continue his work as an artist. It was a career not welcomed by his parents, and even the Korean art community gave him the cold shoulder. His work features dolls, robots, and abandoned dogs, which are common images from his childhood. Korean artists critiqued his work as being “too light” and not serious enough for the art community. They even deemed his work isn’t an art. Still, Eddie Kang vowed to paint what he loved, and to go through life as he deems appropriate. As such, in each of his exhibition, guests will always find an abandoned dog in at least one of his pieces.
The exhibition <We will be alright> is currently being held at Paradise Zip. To get to the exhibition, take Line 4 from Sookmyung Women's University Station and transfer to Line 3 at Chungmuro Station before getting off at Dongguk University Station. Then, use a map app to get to the gallery. The entire travel time will take about 35 minutes. The exhibition is free of charge, so visitors can enjoy it without the burden of an admission fee. Due to COVID-19, all visitors must wear a mask and use hand sanitizer. If guests record their name on the guest book on the first floor, the curator will give them detailed explanations about each featured piece. Visitors may ask questions at any time while they are there because the curator is always found on the first floor at the information desk.



The purity of a child; the warmth of the world

<We will be alright> features work about Eddie Kang's childhood. Each piece contains an abandoned dog. The abandoned dog is called “LOVELESS”, and its story is revealed through its scars of abuse and dissolution of adoption. It is later healed by love after its adoption by a family member. Another abandoned dog is called “MIX” and its story starts with being abandoned on a bus. It lives well without developing wrinkles. Finally, there is “YETI”, the only imaginary creature in the collection. It appears in works gathered under the idea that an imaginary existence exists everywhere and protects all of us even when we feel we are invisible. Kang claims the characters in his work are expressions of himself. Therefore, visitors will sincerely sense his pain and emotions from just looking at the paintings. Visitors will also feel how his emotions gradually change over time.
People unfamiliar with the gallery may mistake it for someone’s home or a pretty café from the outside. However, upon closer inspection of the door, visitors will notice the words "It's a gallery. Come on in." Before stepping into the gallery, the landscape of trees and surrounding quietness of the area will make visitors feel relaxed. The gallery consists of two floors, with wide terraces and old trees taller than the gallery building itself on the second floor. People will be greeted by the guardian angel YETI immediately after entering the first floor. On each of the first and second floors, there are 18 pieces on display, so the entire collection at the exhibition contains 36 original pieces. On the first floor, works painted between 2017 and 2019 are on display. Those earlier work display a lot of anxiety and loss. The pieces that are most representative of his depressive state are "Saying Goodbye," "Rage," and "Upside Down," and his state of mind is clear also from the color used in his work. On the other hand, on the second floor, more recent work done in 2020 are on display. The works gradually change from angled squares to a circular pieces, and his makes use of yellow lights. In addition, visitors are greeted by bright colors and plenty of natural light. The names of pieces that clearly highlight his hopefulness are “Happy New Year,” “Yeti,” and “Don’t forget the magic.” The most special and impressive section of the exhibit is "Way Home." Designed to respond to any questions visitors may have, this area is where the artist provides answers to queries or presents comments on hidden features about his work. The answers visitors take home with them will vary from person to person.




Rating: ★★★★☆

This SMT reporter felt bored with life and anxious about her unknown future because of the extra time spent at home away from others. However, after visiting this exhibition, she felt more comfortable and her hope was restored. It was a little bit disappointing that there were lots of empty spaces nothing was displayed, and she felt the work offered little in diversity because the three characters were always the center of the artist’s work. Also, the terrace on the second floor was empty, so she thought it would be better if the place had places for visitors to rest like tables and chairs. Despite these issues, this SMT reporter recommends the exhibition to everyone because it gives visitors great inner strength. After visiting the exhibition, take time to also look at the murals and various flowers and trees that are behind the gallery building. In addition, there is a famous bakery nearby, so visitors can relax and chat about the exhibition over a cup of coffee and a tasty treat. People who feel stuffy at home or depressed recently should most definitely take advantage of this wonderful free-of-charge exhibition.

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