Ahn Eun-me turns museum space into dance stage

By Shim Woo-hyun

Seoul Museum of Art showcases contemporary dance choreographer Ahn Eun-me

  • Published : Jul 1, 2019 - 17:46
  • Updated : Jul 1, 2019 - 18:16

Ahn Eun-me is a one-of-a-kind Korean contemporary dancer. Even then, not many would expect to see her in an art museum.

“It is strange to look back on my own past 30 years,” Ahn said during a press conference held Wednesday at the SeMA’s main branch in Seosomun-dong, Seoul, where a solo exhibition of her work is underway

Members of the Eun Me Ahn Company perform during a press conference held Wednesday at the Seoul Museum of Art. (Shim Woo-hyun/The Korea Herald)

Titled “Known Future,” the show comprises installations, video works, sounds, archive materials and performances.

A statue of Ahn, painted in glittering gold, stands at the entrance to the exhibition. On the floor of the main exhibition space, transparent beach balls are scattered, each with a photo of Ahn affixed on the inside.

Visitors are allowed to kick the balls as they make their way around the space. In addition, there are many silver air vent tubes, installed like columns, which continuously expand upward and shrink back.

This combination of shiny installations and objects prepares the audience for a wide stage at the other end, where various events are taking place throughout the exhibition period, with the exception of Wednesdays.

Individual dancers and dance companies will hold dance lessons and performances. There will also be lectures by famous artists, experts and critics from different fields, including Ahn, tap dancer Cho Sung-ho as well as members of the Eun Me Ahn Company and Ambiguous Dance Company.

Lecturers include philosopher Slavoj Zizek, artist Yang Hae-gue, architect Moon Hoon and art critic Lee Young-june. 

Ahn Eun-me speaks during a press conference held Wednesday at the Seoul Museum of Art. (Yonhap)

“I am not sure how it will turn out in the exhibition space. Yet, I think it is part of the change,” Ahn said. “More and more fine art producers now bring their works to the stage, and dancers bring their performances to the gallery space,” Ahn said.

Ahn thinks that the museum space allows the audience more freedom to closely interact with performers, as there is no division between the stage and seats.

“What I would like to do here is to invite the audience and make them dance on the stage,” Ahn said.

She emphasized that language related to our bodies has often been neglected in the education system and that people need moments to break away from the daily routine in which we move our bodies in very limited ways.

“To dance is to go against our repeated routines. To dance is to go against our repeated labor,” she said.

The exhibition runs through Sept. 29.

By Shim Woo-hyun (