Wednesday, October 5, 2011

National Art Museum Seou nicknamed UUL

The new branch of a national contemporary museum, which will open in 2013 in Sogyeok-dong, Seoul, will be called the UUL National Art Museum.

The “UUL” part of the new name comes from the Korean word meaning fence. The “UUL” also incorporates an abbreviation for the word “uri,” which means “us” or “our” in Korean.

“UUL states that the National Art Museum is ‘our’ museum, enclosed in the fence of art and culture. It also refers to the name of the city, Seoul,” said Kang Seung-wan, head of the new museum’s planning and construction department.

The museum will be built on the site of the former headquarters of the Defense Security Command located between Gyeongbok Palace and Samcheong-dong.

The logo for the museum identity symbolizes the name UUL. Composed of lines and dots, the logo embodies a tree, connecting traditional and contemporary aspects, Kang added.

UUL’s site is well-known for its historical value. It was used for several royal institutes during the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910) including Saganwon (censors office), Gyujanggak (royal library) and Jongchinbu (office of royal genealogy).

Under the Japanese colonial rule (1910-45), Gyeongseong Medical College Hospital was built on the site and it was later used as the Defense Security Command headquarters.

To keep its rich history, UUL preserved a building of the former Defense Security Command headquarters and restored the Jongchinbu building, which was moved to Jeongdok Library, to its original place.

Fences become artwork

In 2010, artist Chung Seo-yeong colored fences in bright pink with “Catch Your Rabbit.”

This time, the museum revamped the fence of the construction site with commercial designer Yi Je-seok, also known as Jeski. He is known for installations such as “Now Disrobing,” which was set up during the restoration of Admiral Yi Sun-sin’s statue in Gwanghwamun Square last year and won many advertising awards from organizations including Cannes International, Clio and the New York Festivals.

Yi’s work imbues a fresh twist to the construction site. The west side of the fence is a teaser for the museum’s opening titled “Naked Museum.” Figures in noted paintings, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” Sandro Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and Shin Yun-bok’s “Portrait of a Beauty,” stand behind the fences, naked, with graffiti-like writing announcing the new museum’s name.

On the north side, “Amazing Korea” features surprised looks of foreigners, symbolizing the development of the country.

“Conventionally, the museum asked to create installations for artists, but we decided to work with advertising professional Yi this time, since his exceptional creative, spirit is well-matched with the new museum’s future,” Kang said. “ UUL will approach the public in an intimate way just like Yi’s project.”

The National Art Museum Seoul is scheduled to open in 2013. MOCA is preparing a temporary site in Samcheong-dong to promote the new museum from the end of October.

“The store will introduce the new art museum and sell exclusive UUL products,” Kang said.

For more information, visit (Korean and English) or call (02) 2188-6000.

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