□ A Collection for Korea (“Daehan Collection,” Special Kansong Exhibition Celebrating the Centennial of the March 1 Movement), an exhibition co-hosted by the Seoul Design Foundation (CEO Choi Kyung-ran) and Kansong Art and Culture Foundation, will be held from January 4 to March 31, 2019, at the DDP Design Museum (2F, Museum).
● The exhibition will highlight many dramatic incidents that resulted from the efforts of Chun, renowned as a protector of cultural relics in Korea, to protect national treasures from colonial pilfering as well as his dedication as an educator to protect Korea’s history and independence, which was at the center of the March 1 Movement, from being distorted and lost. There will also be a display of some personal items of Chun’s.
● This exhibition, held on the centennial anniversary of the March 1 Movement, aims to introduce visitors to the efforts made by Chun during the Japanese colonial period to achieve his vision for Korea’s future.
● It will display not only six National Treasures, eight Treasures, items of Goryeo celadon, Joseon white celadon, calligraphic works by Kim Jeong-hui, and paintings by Jeong Seon, but also Goryeo celadon that Chun picked up himself in Tokyo after years of attempts to recover them, a book of Jeong Seon’s paintings that was almost reduced to ashes (in an attempt to use it as kindling material by a pro-Japanese sympathizer), and a story about how Chun secured an item of Joseon white celadon after an intense competition at an art auction in Tokyo with a major Japanese collector.
● The exhibition will also reveal Chun’s earnest desire to preserve Korea’s independence, even amid Japanese persecution, through his takeover and operation of Posung High School.
● The Korean and English audio guides, which are voiced by actor Im Soo-jung and Mark Tetto (a popular American TV personality in Korea), respectively, will provide visitors with explanations of the exhibition’s significance in an easily accessible manner.
□ The exhibition will be divided into five sections. Called “Announce,” the first space is for greeting visitors and will outline the five years during which the Kansong Art and Culture Foundation displayed its collection at the DDP and present a display of digitalized versions of 15 major artifacts. There is also a VR tour of the Kansong Art Museum, which is currently closed due to renovations. Admission to this space is free of charge in order to promote greater public awareness of Chun Hyung-pil.
□ The second space, “Communication,” is where the official exhibition actually begins. Here, visitors will gain a better understanding of the great lengths to which Chun went to protect Korea’s cultural heritage assets for future generations during an extremely chaotic time. It also emphasizes Chun’s identity as an educator through his decision to take the helm of Posung High School, an institution that was at the center of the March 1 Movement, in its moment of greatest need, to teach young Koreans about their heritage.
□ The third space, “Collect,” showcases National Treasure No. 68 (Celadon vase with inlaid crane and cloud designs), a famous work of Goryeo celadon that was first acquired by Bohwagak (the predecessor of Kansong Art Museum and Korea’s first private art museum), and tells the story of how it was acquired by Chun. It also explains how Chun acquired Jeong Seon’s Haeak Jeonsincheop, which was almost used as kindling material by a pro-Japanese sympathizer.
□ The fourth space, “Guard,” explores the pain of cultural plunder that is embodied by the Gyeongseong Art Club, which served as a legal shipping point for cultural heritage assets at the time and is now located in the middle of today’s Myeongdong district (Prince Hotel). For Chun, the club was the front line of his battle to save Korea’s cultural heritage. The space features White porcelain bottle with grass and insect design in underglaze iron, copper and cobalt blue (National Treasure No. 294), writing by Kim Jeong-hui of the phrase “大烹高會” (Treasure No. 1978), and writing by Kim Jeong-hui of the word “梣溪” (Treasure No. 1980), as well as 14 other works that Chun managed to save during those years.
□ The fifth and last space, “Recover,” tells the story of how Chun personally went to Tokyo to acquire the collection of Sir John Gadsby, an attorney who was renowned at the time for his sharp eye for Goryeo celadon. Of the 20 items in the Gadsby collection, this space will display 12 beautiful items of jade-colored Goryeo celadon, nine of which have been designated as National Treasures (four) and Treasures (five) by the Korean government.
□ CEO Choi Kyung-ran of Seoul Design Foundation said, “Starting with The Treasures of Kansong: Preserving National Identity Through Culture, which was held in March 2014 to commemorate the opening of the DDP and anniversary of the founding of the Kansong Culture and Arts Foundation, the DDP has hosted 12 Kansong exhibitions over the past five years. The hosting of 12 Kansong exhibitions not at Kansong Art Museum [previously, Bohwagak] but at the DDP played a key role in popularizing the Kansong collection by making it more accessible to the general public and starting discussions on communal methods for utilizing cultural heritage assets. We organized this very meaningful exhibition with the Kansong Art and Culture Foundation to spread public awareness of the significance of the centennial of the March 1 Movement.” Choi went on to say, “In cooperation with Korean and overseas exhibition planners, the DDP will continue featuring diverse world-class exhibitions on contemporary design that suggest future directions for the design industry at the Design Museum.”
The last Special Kansong Exhibition held at the DDP, A Collection for Korea will not only feature the National Treasures, Treasures, and artifacts that Chun recovered from the Japanese colonial government and preserved for Korea’s future, but also explain how Chun took control of Posung High School, a school that was founded specifically to produce individuals capable of serving their country.