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Antique Street Moves from Insadong to Jaedong

Posted June. 13, 2001 16:05,   


Seoul’s antique streets are experiencing a change.

As ancient-fine-arts dealers, who have been frustrated because Insadong has gradually changed from a `street of culture` to a `street of pleasure`, are moving one after another to neighboring Jaedong and Whadong, a new antique street has begun to appear in that region. The new 500 meter antique street begins from Jaedong Elementary School in Jaedong and reaches to Jungdok Library in Whadong.

Recently, Beewon Art Gallery and Inn Art Gallery left Insadong and moved to here.

Although there are only two galleries so far, more number of art dealers are requesting for information to move. Hakgojae Art Gallery in Insadong is seriously considering to move saying, ``we can expect nothing more from Insadong.``

In addition, not only ancient art dealers, but also contemporary art dealers and offices including ``The Art``, a monthly fine arts magazine that moved their office to a location in front of the Jungdok Library, are coming to here.

Doo Kyu-Sik, the owner of Beewon Art Gallery who left Insadong and moved to here,

said, ``Although my Insadong shop was crowded with people, there were not many

buyers. Most of them were just `eye-shoppers` who don’t have knowledge on cultural

properties. But after moving to Jaedong, it is much better because of the quite

atmosphere and real manias who come here to buy.``

Mr. Doo added, ``recently. more number of art dealers are coming to get information. And at least, two more antique shops will move to here by the end of this year.`` ``To distinguish here from Insadong, the antique street has to be to neat and tidy``, he stressed.

An employee at Inn Art Gallery also said, ``there is no more traditional and cultural mood in Insadong, instead, it has changed to a district where people just eat and drink. For the most of time, I was distracted by crowds. But, after moving to Jaedong, I think, it is much better, because here is much quieter and more people including foreigners are coming. So there is not much difference in the sales amount comparing to Insadong.``

Woo Chan-Kyu, the owner of Hakgojae Art Gallery, emphasized the geographical factor that this street which connects Jaedong and Whadong is located in the center of Bokchon, an old residential district, and the street provide the best view of Inwang Mountain. For this reason, he says, ``basically, it has been completely equipped with all conditions to be a street of tradition and culture.``

It is expected that when the Defense Security Command leaves from the site next to the street, and if the site is designated as a cultural district, the change of the street of Jaedong and Whadong will be accelerated. The only shortcoming of the street is that since the street is crowded with residential buildings, there are not much space for art galleries. But, Mr. Doo said, ``as the number of art dealers who want to move to here grows continuously, more buildings will be on sale and more number of building owners will renovate their buildings to lure art dealers.``

Lee Kwawg-Pyo kplee@donga.com