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CLEVELAND (Feb. 11, 2011) — This spring, the Cleveland Museum of Art will present a compelling exhibition, The Lure of Painted Poetry: Japanese and Korean Art, that offers a rare, in-depth comparison of the secular artistic achievements of Japan and Korea as reflected in the museum's renowned collections of Asian art. The Lure of Painted Poetry highlights Japanese and Korean artists' efforts to fuse the genres of visual art and poetry as they reinterpreted themes of classical Chinese poetry in a variety of visual media, including calligraphy, painting and decorative arts. The exhibition contains 80 objects from the museum's preeminent Asian collection, dating from the 14th to the 21st centuries, and it will be on view March 27 to August 28, 2011.
The fusion of art and poetry is a theme Japanese and Korean artists have explored for centuries and The Lure of Painted Poetry prominently features artwork from the Muromachi, Momoyama and Edo periods of Japan (1392–1867), the Joseon period of Korea (1392–1910) as well as contemporary objects. Korean and Japanese artists were inspired by international ideals such as the pursuit of knowledge and refinement expressed in Chinese poems to represent their inner utopia and liberation from a mundane life. They interpreted—rather than copied—the Chinese prototype according to their own cultural aesthetic frameworks.
Japanese and Korean artists also used Chinese poetry as a vehicle for exploring distant landscapes that were considered central to the creative imagination. "The artworks in this exhibition explore the theme of liberation from a mundane life through armchair reclusion. Without completely withdrawing from the dusty world, the artists achieved spiritual freedom and inner utopia in their poetry and painting," said Dr. Seunghye Sun, associate curator of Japanese and Korean Art for the Cleveland Museum of Art.
The concepts of poetic landscape are explored in various artworks in the exhibition. Inspired by themes such as the Chinese Xiao Xiang Rivers, Japanese and Korean artists produced a rich array of artwork including hanging scrolls and powerful screens that inspire reflection on the relationship between humankind and the natural world—despite not having traveled to China. Literary Gathering, a hanging scroll with calligraphy from the 1500s, epitomizes the refined way of life idealized by the scholarly classes in Japan and Korea. Even seemingly ordinary objects, like Wine Flask (1600s), porcelain vases, bronze mirrors and lacquer wares, feature designs inspired by poetry. Also included in the exhibition are artworks by contemporary Japanese and Korean artists like Aoyama Sanu, Takaki Seikaku, Takaki Seiu from Japan and Kim Sungsoo from Korea, who offer a modern interpretation of the continued engagement with Chinese poetry with the visual arts.
Highlights of the exhibition include:
The Lure of Painted Poetry is the first exhibition conceived and organized by Dr. Sun for the Cleveland Museum of Art. Before her appointment at the museum, Sun served as curator at the National Museum of Korea (Seoul, 2002–2008; Gongju, 2009), where, as the first curator of Japanese art in Korea's history, she planned and installed the permanent galleries of Japanese art. Additionally, she was the curator and publication author for several exhibitions, including Western-style Paintings in Modern Japan, The Lure of Asia in Japanese Art and A Treasury of Joseon Period Manuscripts and Portraits from the Distinguished Families in Gongju, Korea.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue featuring works of Korean and Japanese art from the Cleveland Museum of Art's collection, and complementary programming that includes lectures by Dr. Sun and David McCann, Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Literature at Harvard University, a paper-making demonstration and family activities. Further programming information may be found at www.ClevelandArt.org .
The Lure of Painted Poetry: Japanese and Korean Art is free and is organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art.
About the Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art is renowned for the quality and breadth of its collection, which includes more than 40,000 objects and spans 6,000 years of achievement in the arts. Currently undergoing a multi-phase renovation and expansion project, it is a significant international forum for exhibitions, scholarship, performing arts and art education. Admission to the museum's collection is free, and free admission has been a hallmark of the museum since its founding.
The Cleveland Museum of Art has a membership of nearly 25,000 households and is supported by a broad range of individuals, foundations and businesses in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. The museum is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. Additional support comes from the Ohio Arts Council, which helps fund the museum with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. For more information about the museum, its holdings, programs and events, call 888-CMA-0033 or visit www.ClevelandArt.org .