Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen Exhibition

Artist of Spring sculpture in Cheonggye stream holds retrospective in Seoul.

Portraying everyday objects with humor has been the foundation of Claes Oldenburg and the late Coosje van Bruggen’s sculptures. By twisting and simplifying shapes and adding humor to it, the sculptors produced iconic works in major cities in the world including “Spoonbridge and Cherry” in Minneapolis, “Saw, Sawing” in Tokyo, “Cupid’s Span” in San Francisco, and the highly sensational and controversial “Spring” in Seoul.

The retrospective exhibition at PKM Trinity Gallery in Seoul presents a comprehensive selection of works by Oldenburg and his collaborator and wife van Bruggen, who passed away in 2009. The works are not only displayed at the gallery in Gangnam, but can be viewed at Times Square, the entertainment and shopping complex in Yeongdeungpo.

The exhibition features large-scale indoor sculptures of instruments, food and everyday objects, as well as drawings and prints, including sketches for “Spring.” The couple made the music instrument sculptures in the “Music Room” of the old castle in the French Loire Valley, which the couple bought in 1992. The instrument sculptures suggest the beauty of irony and offer a new perspective of looking at familiar objects.

Born in Sweden and working in New York, Oldenburg rose to prominence in the international art scene with the idea of “Soft Sculpture,” which shocked viewers who were familiar with conventional art form. He made familiar objects, ranging from household fixtures such as toilets, fans and light switches to food, with soft materials such as vinyl, canvas and clothes.

His innovative idea is also shown in his massive public works that brought him international recognition and the title of celebrated pop artist. “What I want to make are just things and objects, in which art does not intervene. I make live charged objects. Here, artistic forms and contents do not come from the objects themselves, but from their references,” he once said.

Oldenburg and van Bruggen started their collaborative works in 1971 and produced large scale projects around the world that have become landmarks in numerous cities. The exhibition continues through Jan. 15 at PKM Trinity Gallery in Apgujeong, Seoul. For more information, (02) 515-9496.


Artist of Spring sculpture in Cheonggye stream holds retrospective in Seoul, The Korean Herald.