Seoul Museum rejects returning art loan to Russia amid war in Ukraine – ARTnews.com
A museum in Seoul, South Korea, has refused a request to return a group of 63 works by avant-garde Russian artists on loan from the Yekaterinburg Fine Arts Museum in Russia. This is the latest tension to arise between international cultural institutions and their counterparts in Russia following the country’s war with Ukraine.
The traveling exhibition for which the works were loaned, “Kandinsky, Malevich & Russian Avant-Garde,” is currently making its final stop in Korea at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, after being shown across Europe in late December. It will remain open as planned until April 17, according to Korea Timetableswho broke the news first.
Similar situations have occurred across Europe since Russia launched its war against Ukraine in late February.
In Milan, more than 20 works were loaned to a museum owned by Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo of the Russian state-supported Hermitage Museum Network for an exhibition titled ‘Grand Tour: Italy’s Dream of Venice in Pompeii”. In addition, two paintings were loaned to the city’s Palazzo Reale for its exhibition “Titian and the image of women in sixteenth-century Venice”. The Russian Ministry of Culture requested the return of these and other works elsewhere in Italy, which these institutions accepted.
“When I read the letter, I felt bitter because culture should be protected from war, but these are difficult times,” Palazzo Reale director Domenico Piraina said. told Reuters earlier this month.
In Paris, the Louis Vuitton Foundation refused to close an exhibition dedicated to modern art from the collections of late 19th-century Russian collectors Mikhail and Ivan Abramovich Morozov, citing war-related logistical obstacles. The collection is prized in Russia and has been endorsed by the Russian President
Seoul Expo ffeatures a range of Russian artists, from abstract painters Wassily Kandinsky and Kazimir Malevich to Natalia Goncharova and Alexander Rodchenko, whose works span photography and design.
The showcase was the first to introduce the public to many key figures in the history of Russian art in Korea. She received support from Russian officials, including Korean Kremlin Ambassador Andrey Kulik, who praised the exhibit at an opening ceremony in Seoul in December. In his words, Kulik noted that cultural exchanges have long forged ties between the two countries.
In late February, Kulik warned that ties established with Korea over the past 30 years could “change course”, in a statement after the Seoul government announced it would join an international sanctions effort to punish the Russian Federation for its invasion of Ukraine. As part of the action, the Seoul Foreign Ministry said it would ban the export of key materials to Russia and freeze access to seven of Russia’s biggest banks.