From September 25 through October 23, 2014, the photography exhibition “Underground Landscape of Seoul” will be held at Gallery Atelier, located in the underground passage of Euljiro 4-ga Station.
The exhibition is composed of two sections: “Underground Shopping Centers and their Inhabitants” and “Landscape of the Underground Shopping Center”. The “Underground Shopping Centers and their Inhabitants” section features the stories of vendors who have made their living in the underground shopping centers of Seoul for generations, as well as the long-time customers of these areas. The “Landscape of the Underground Shopping Center” section displays dynamic scenes of the lives of those who move through these underground passages to get from one place to another and their interactions with those making a living in these places.
Seoul’s underground shopping centers are spaces that are integral to the everyday lives of the city’s citizens, functioning as underground passageways for commuters as well as places for people looking to sell and those looking to buy. Ever since the founding of the New Seoul Underground Shopping Center near City Hall Station in 1967, 29 underground shopping centers have been established in the city. Their combined area is 149,920m2, roughly one-sixth of Myeong-dong. The 17 underground shopping centers located within the four city gates area of old Seoul play particularly vital roles as passageways connecting various downtown areas. Only barely making contact with one another, the underground shopping centers create a massive network within the center of Seoul.
The Seoul Metropolitan Facilities Management Corporation, which manages and operates all the underground shopping centers in Seoul, has been conducting the “Underground Shopping Center Public Art Project” since 2013. The purpose of the project is to create a space for public art and citizen-led culture inside the underground shopping centers. The first project involved the building of a “piano staircase” in the Euljiro Underground Passage and the establishment of “trick art” exhibits at various attractions in Seoul. Gallery Atelier was built inside the Euljiro 4-ga Underground Passage in May 2014, and is currently the location of the “Underground Landscape of Seoul” photo exhibition.