SIWA members outside the Leeum
Bathing in the glow of ‘Gravity Stairs’ by Olafur Eliasson

“A beautifully designed art museum, containing both a section of contemporary art and one with traditional Korean arts. And definitely a must-see for the architecture! It’s such a pleasure to introduce this museum to SIWA members!” says our wonderful tour leader, Sejung, who met us on a hot and humid Tuesday morning to spend a few hours absorbing some culture.

Immediately stepping inside, we got relief from the humidity outside on the streets. I could instantly feel myself relax first in the cavernous bright high-ceilinged rooms and then in the cool dark display areas. In addition, I appreciated the fact that the Leeum limits the number of visitors allowed in at one time so as not to ruin the tranquil atmosphere of quiet reflection the architects and designers have created.

The Leeum has three areas – two museums and the outside area.

Museum 1 houses the ancient traditional art of the Joseon and Goryeo dynasties, paintings and calligraphy, and Buddhist art and metalware. In addition, you can find some modern art pieces (Mark Rothko and Alberto Giacometti) among the traditional ones in an effort to connect the ancient to the present.

Museum 2 is home to contemporary artworks. I was particularly surprised to see three Damien Hirst pieces here (Nothing to Fear, Dark Round Spiral Butterfly, and Dark Oval Butterfly – the latter two being beautiful kaleidoscopes made from thousands of butterfly wings) as well as others by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Anish Kapoor, and more by Mark Rothko.

Outside the museum are some of its most eye-catching pieces, which are perfect for photo opportunities as you can see in the picture.

Impressive outside artwork

There really is something for everyone – no matter what your taste.

This was Sejung’s third SIWA visit to the Leeum as tour leader because it is so popular and each time the spots sell out extremely quickly! If you would like to visit the Leeum, please look for future excursions to pop up on the calendar. If you simply cannot wait until then, head to the museum website to organize your own trip.