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Amorepacific Museum of Art unveils its antique art collection for first time

Installation view of “APMA, Chapter Two” at the Amorepacific Museum of Art (APMA)
Installation view of “APMA, Chapter Two” at the Amorepacific Museum of Art (APMA)

The Amorepacific Museum of Art -- a museum run by Korea’s cosmetics giant Amorepacific Group -- has unveiled its collection of antique art for the first time since its opening in 2018.

The exhibition, “APMA, Chapter Two,” showcases a total of 1,500 artworks spanning from paintings, folding screens, ceramics, ornaments and clothing to wooden furniture from the prehistoric era to the modern times. The exhibition aims to shed light on the beauty of Korean traditional art through a wide range of pieces, according to the museum. The majority of the collection was owned by the conglomerate’s founder Suh Sung-hwan who died in 2003.

Two state-designated treasures -- Water-Moon Avalokitesvara (Treasure No.1426), a Buddhist painting from the Goryeo period (918-1392) and Avatamsaka Sutra (Treasure No. 1559), copies of sutra written in gold ink on indigo paper from the same period -- are the highlight of the first gallery dedicated to Korean paintings and folding screens.

The next two galleries display ceramic pieces and make up the largest portion of the museum’s collection. “Baekja,” or white porcelain, made of white clay, grayish-green celadon pieces decorated with elegant patterns and earthenware potteries from the prehistoric period are shown on large tables at the center of the galleries. 

Installation view of “APMA, Chapter Two” at the Amorepacific Museum of Art (APMA)
Installation view of “APMA, Chapter Two” at the Amorepacific Museum of Art (APMA)


Among the items here are Buncheong Ware Square Flattened Bottle with Stamped Designs (Treasure No. 1450) and Large Porcelain Jar (Treasure No. 1441) that inspired the Amorepacific headquarters building designed by David Chipperfield Architects.

The metal crafts at the exhibition include ornamental pendants or “norigae” from Joseon era (1932-1910) and hairpins or ”binyeo“ that were once worn by married women.

The museum’s “APMA, Chapter One” show that took place in February 2019 unveiled Amorepacific’s contemporary art collection that includes installation works by renowned artists Lee Bul, Choe U-Ram and American pop artist Robert Indiana.

Started as the Pacific Museum in 1979, the museum was reopened as the Amorepacific Museum of Art in 2018 inside the group’s new headquarters in Yongsan-gu, central Seoul. The company’s founder Suh began collecting Korean artworks in the 1960s when he realized the importance of cultural heritage during a business trip to Paris.

An online reservation is required to visit the museum and can be made through the museum’s official website at apma.amorepacific.com. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum will limit the number of daily visitors to 350. The exhibition runs through Nov. 8.

By Park Yuna (yunapark@heraldcorp.com)

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