In the special exhibition 1900-1960s Modern Art from the MMCA Collection, MMCA uses numerous masterpieces from its renowned collection to present a fresh perspective on the history of Korean modern art.
Section I. Budding of Modern Art: 1900-1920s examines how traditional painting changed with the influx of foreign styles, the introduction and influence of photography, and the early development of oil painting in Korea. After the Japanese annexation in 1910, Korean artists channeled both their anguish and their hope into their works, filling them with an emotional potency that continues to resonate with viewers to this day.
Section II. Search for New Expressions: 1930s-1940s introduces the first generation of Korean artists who had been fully trained and educated at art school. While these artists comprehensively explored traditional oil painting motifs, including nudes, landscapes, and still-lifes, they also freely experimented with new styles and modes of expression, such as Impressionism, Fauvism, Expressionism, and abstract art.
Section III. Evincing Consciousness: 1950s-1960s focuses on the period in which Korean artists began actively seeking to express their mind and consciousness through their works. Having survived the devastation of the Korean War, postwar artists sought to convey a spirit of hope and recovery through diverse creative endeavors. While academic realism became the prevalent style, primarily through the influence of the National Art Exhibition of Korea, abstract art also came into its own, as more Korean artists traveled overseas and became active in international cities.