When I first moved to Korea, I was lucky to have an internship with an art auction company. This meant going to galleries weekly, meeting young artists, writing exhibition reviews and promoting works for sale. It was an experience that I’m still so incredibly grateful for.
One of my favorite parts about this experience was the galleries, my favorite being the ones in Mangwon (망원). Mangwon is a rising hotspot due to its large traditional market and scenic views of the Han River. Thankfully, this interest has allowed smaller galleries to flourish and even open new branches. Today, I’ll introduce you to five of my favorite galleries that make for a perfect afternoon stroll or morning coffee in Mangwon.
Eojjeoda Gallery is just as unique as its name. Located in the basement of an architecturally modern building, this gallery has several small showcase rooms with a sitting area for discussion and, of course, wine and coffee. This gallery has always given me ‘evening’ vibes with tucked-away presence. It comes across as very moody and urban in the darker hours of the day.
Like many of the galleries in Mangwon, the artists presented here are often fresh and just on the scene. The several shows that I’ve been lucky to visit have been thought provoking and visually striking, ranging from towering canvas paintings to delicate woodwork.
Address (Click for map): Seoul, Mapo-gu, Donggyo-ro 15-gil 32 | 서울시 마포구 동교로 15길 32
Opening Hours: 12:00 – 20:00 (Sunday Break)
Handicap Accessibility: No
Space So is my favorite gallery in Mangwon for many reasons. First, the owner is incredibly welcoming and encourages the staff to speak with guests regardless of any language barrier. You really feel like you can make yourself at home here.
Second, the curated artwork is truly unique. Their selected works are typically more thought-provoking than aesthetic, but if you’re more interested in art analysis, it doesn’t get much better than here.
The two story building also has a cozy cafe and a small, hand-made shop a bit on the pricey end but all about stunning visuals.
Address: 37 Donggyo-ro 17-gil Mapo-gu Seoul | 서울시 마포구 동교로 17길 37
Opening Hours: 11:00 – 19:00
Handicap Accessbility: First floor
Hapjeong District is, admittedly, not always on the top of my list, but it does have some charming exhibitions from time to time. I most respect the owners of this gallery for hosting a Queer Archive back in 2019. It was a warming sight to see in a country where LGBTQ+ rights are not often a topic for discussion.
This gallery makes for a great first stop as you head into the Mangwon district from the East – aka Hapjeong Station. It’s small, cozy and shouldn’t take you too long to check out their youthful and often colorfully curated exhibitions.
Address: 40 World Cup-ro Mapo-gu Seoul | 서울시 마포구 월드컵로 40
Opening Hours: 13:00 – 20:00 (Sunday Break)
Handicap Accessbility: Yes
A minimalist’s dream, Choyeon is an interesting gallery and cafe that’s home to gorgeous artwork and equally beautiful coffee. Sit among the tall paintings and unique installation works as you enjoy your fairy-like drinks on a sunny afternoon.
Choyeon is particulary special due to its white, minimalist aesthetic that’s occassionally challenged by bold artwork in primary colors. It’s definitely a sight to soak in each time you come, with each exhibition outperforming the last.
Address: First Floor 23 World Cup Buk-ro 8-Gil Mapo-gu Seoul| 서울시 마포구 월드컵북로 8길 23 1층
Opening Hours: 10:00 – 19:00 (Wed-Sat), 11:00 – 9:00 (Sun) (Tuesday and Monday Break)
Handicap Accessibility: Yes
Easily one of the most ‘stereotypical’ gallery spaces in Mangwon, Cafe Yoho is the perfect spot for a lengthly chat with good company. If you’re more analytical like myself, this is a great place to ponder the meaning of life (spiralling down a hole, really) through the work of prominent artists.
Also popular among influencers, the cute and often cartoony work displays an artistic sensibility that also makes for stunning photos.
Address: 125 Donggyo-ro Mapo-gu Seoul | 서울시 마포구 동교로 125
Opening Hours: 10:00 – 19:00 (Tuesday Break)
Handicap Accessbility: Yes
There is a plethora of galleries in the Mapo-gu area, but I hope this list gives acts as a first step! Seoul is making waves in the contemporary art scene, and if you want to be a part of it, visiting galleries in Mangwon on a regular basis will keep you up-to-date with the country’s blossoming artists and sellers. Stay tuned for more posts on art, galleries and museums through our Instagram and Facebook page.
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