The Gwangju Culture and Arts Complex was due to be finished in 2014 but there’re some final touches still needed and the project is now significantly overdue. Yet, while the residents of the city watch on with patient eyes, a small gallery near downtown is filling the gap in Gwangju’s cultural community.
Largely thanks to its internationally renowned biennial art event, Gwangju has a reputation for being one of the leading Korean cities for culture. This can occasionally seem like a generous perception since, outside of the Gwangju Bienalle, the city’s artistic output could appear limited to an unfinished Culture and Art Complex and a series of commercial galleries on Art Street. Yet, scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find some really cool institutions working to make Gwangju live up to it’s reputation and one of the best examples of this is Salt Art Gallery.
Salt Art Gallery boasts an impressive program of exhibitions and events. The work included has been curated in such a way as to represent a huge range of mediums, disciplines and artistic perspectives. It has a heavy emphasis on experimentation, inviting artists who really push the boundaries to display their work there. Their recent exhibitions have included a series of stark photographs by Seokjin Kim and a digital video art display by Artem Ivanov.
Not limited to the world of visual art, Salt Gallery is as well known for it’s live music program. Their regular Bulgasari event subverts the open mic night format with an eclectic series of performance pieces and experimental musical recitals. They have also hosted some fantastic bands such as Tengger and Majdub.
While the space itself is relatively small, the organisers have made it look phenomenal with a high-quality refit and a fantastic audio-visual set-up. Salt is also set to have it’s own studio space for artists to work in. This should be set up sometime in the near future.
With it’s emphasis on left-field and experimental creativity, Salt Gallery is making a valuable contribution to Gwangju’s art scene and is fast becoming an integral part of it’s creative community.
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