Eng. Translated Article:
The singer and artist Kwon Ji-an (Solbi) is gaining attention as a leading figure in ‘K-Art Entertainer’ by holding her second exhibition in the United States.
On the 1st (local time), Kwon Ji-an exhibited four pieces at the special exhibition ‘SoHo’s Got Seoul’ held at the Park West Gallery in SoHo, New York. This marks her second exhibition in the United States since her solo exhibition, ‘Beyond the Apple: Systemized Language,’ held in New Jersey in May 2022. She has been consistently showcasing her artwork in the international art market, gaining recognition.
The Park West Gallery in New York, where ‘SoHo’s Got Seoul’ took place, opened its doors in 1969, presenting artworks from classical to contemporary art worldwide. The exhibition featured works from five Korean artists, including Kwon Ji-an, active in the forefront of the ‘Art Entertainer’ movement, along with actor Go Joon, Shinhwa’s Lee Min-woo, media artist Negative (Shim Hyung-jun), and installation artist Choi Jae-yong, showcasing over 30 pieces.
Notably, the exhibition attracted attention by pairing Kwon Ji-an’s works with masterpieces from the Park West Gallery’s collection, including works by Toulouse-Lautrec, Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso, Juan Miró, and Durer. Kwon Ji-an’s pieces were displayed alongside representative impressionist painter Renoir’s works, creating an enjoyable comparison for viewers. Lee Min-woo’s artwork was matched with Picasso’s, and Go Joon’s piece with Toulouse-Lautrec’s.
As the United States, a central market in global entertainment, pays attention to Korean popular culture and arts, there is a growing interest in ‘Art Entertainers’ grouping through art. On the opening day, around 500 spectators from various fields in the U.S. gathered, including New York’s cultural and artistic figures such as museum curator and art planner Zelda Williams, Major Leaguer John Franco, fashion model Margarita Babina, and Nicotine Dolls member Sam Cieri. Additionally, local major media outlets like Rolling Stone, Billboard, and Variety covered the exhibition, showing considerable interest.
The overall curator of the exhibition, Stephanie Kim (Kim Seung-min), stated, “Many art entertainers are active in Korea. Especially, Solbi’s comprehensive activities have established her as a symbol of an art entertainer, and the development of the group that has emerged as a result is impressive.” She added, “Their works deeply express personal emotions and thoughts by immersing themselves in ‘Me.’ I was touched by their seriousness and talent in creating.”
John Block, Vice President of Park West Gallery, mentioned, “With the recent popularity of K-pop, we have paid attention to K-culture, and the term ‘Art Entertainer’ among them seemed interesting.” He expressed, “By presenting the unique works of those who came from Korea, we aim to provide a new experience to New Yorkers through the exhibition. Their wonderful works that transcend cultural and artistic boundaries will become another great source for collectors in the New York contemporary art market.”
Kwon Ji-an shared her thoughts on participating in the exhibition, saying, “In the gallery next door, there is an exhibition by Bob Dylan and Johnny Depp. I want to join forces with art entertainers not only in Korea but also around the world to promote the positive function of art to the public and convey good messages to society.”
Solbi, who debuted as the main vocalist of the co-ed group ‘Typhoon’, faced numerous challenges on her journey to becoming an artist. When she gained recognition as an artist, there were sarcastic comments and malicious messages questioning her skills, with some saying, “Can she even draw?” In response, she turned the controversy into art by creating a piece titled ‘Apology (Apple).’ Her creative ingenuity led to invitations from the global art scene, and two years ago, her ‘Apology (Apple) Series’ received acclaim at the New Jersey exhibition.
Actors Go Joon and Shinhwa’s Lee Min-woo, who participated in the exhibition, introduced the charm of their artistic activities, saying, “I needed time to tell my own story, and the time facing the canvas is the most honest time for me.”
Amid the global popularity of K-contents such as K-pop and K-dramas, ‘SoHo’s Got Seoul’ allows viewers to appreciate the works of K-art entertainers alongside familiar masterpieces. The exhibition will be held at the Park West Gallery in SoHo, New York, until March 2nd.
In addition to the New York exhibition, Kwon Ji-an will meet the audience with a three-person exhibition titled ‘Ordinary Nature’ at the Bantidaraso Gallery in Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, from February 14th to March 2nd, along with artists Park Sang-yong and Yoon Wi-dong.