Daelim Museum Seoul: Ryan McGinley Photography Exhibition – Magic Magnifier


Picture taken from ryanmcginley.com

Hi all! After all the final papers and a 3-weeks-long break I am now back to my usual schedule. Been longing for a holiday after months of insomnia and I am glad to say that I am finally able to sleep a lot better.  Maybe I should correct myself here: I can actually sleep like a log everyday. Really. Nothing can easily wake me up. Totally different from what I was experiencing a month ago.

Travelled out of Seoul to Paju and Busan like a free spirit during the year end festive season. Camera lens went dead during my Busan trip and HELL YEAH, I did’t brought my spare cam. lens with me. I was quite affected because of so many places it only went down on me at the place I longed to visit for some serious photograph taking session. LOL.  Other than that everything went smoothly and year 2014 have been a blissful one so far.

I am so excited that I have a couple of interesting places and wonderful restaurants to introduce to you here. Thousands of photographs are undergoing editing and etc… So here comes my little warm-up post about a recent photography exhibition I visited at Daelim Museum.

picture credit to ryanmcginley.com

picture credit to ryanmcginley.com

Ryan McGinley is an American contemporary photographer who recently captivated New York. His solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art and MoMA PS1, New York and has attained huge popularity and fame, to the point of causing traffic jams in Soho, New York. As his works are exhibited in Korea for the 1st time, response from the public in Korea is very positive — we had to queue for at least 10 minutes before entering the exhibition hall, even it was already 2 months since the opening.

Picture credit to ryanmcginley.com

Picture credit to ryanmcginley.com

I especially like the way he uses colour in his work. The left is one of my favourite pieces from his Seoul exhibition “Magic Magnifier”. Look at the shades of blue and the light dots and how the warmth of the sun reflect onto the naked skin…amazing work!

“Since his childhood; hanging out with skateboarders, graffiti artists, musicians and artists, he was influenced by many subcultures. His personal experience and daily activity are reflected in his photos, magnifying a sense reality.”

Ryan Mcginley work

Picture credit to ryanmcginley.com

This current exhibition at Daelim Museum showcase many of his photographic series together. In fact whole 4 levels are for his 3-months-long solo exhibition. His early documentation of the liberal life in New York, very intriguing “Road Trip” series, where he took photographs during a trip across America States, capturing the otherworldly landscape that young generation dream about. His “Animal Series” showin the communication between humans and animals; and also his black and white portrait series, consisting of his only studio based images are now all under one roof in Seoul.

Animal Series Ryan Mcginley

Picture Credit to ryanmcginley.com

Pictures of the exhibition above are taken from his amazing personal site at ryanmcginley.com. In fact on my actual visit, there were so many people that it is impossible to take such amazing photos of the exhibition site. ryan mcginley photography exhibition

Before joining the crowd~! The title of the exhibition.

Strangely, “Magic Magnifier” was translated into Korean 청춘,그 찬란한 기록, which literally means “Youth, A Splendid Record”. In the interview McGinley said that he wanted the audiences to look and think back of the real meaning of “Youth” and to share the precious moment of that time.
magic magnifier seoul

Another of my favourite pieces from McGinley. favourite ryan mcginley

Me and K like this very much. Seriously can anyone tell me how to capture those gracefully falling snow?

ryan mcginley seoul exhibition This particular piece was used as an Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós  for their fifth album Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust. The video for the first track from the album, “Gobbledigook“, was inspired by McGinley’s work.
gay kissing - ryan mcginley

“His personal experiences and daily activities are reflected in his photos, magnifying a sense reality. The photos of drunk and drugged youth at a party, and a kissing gay couple, etc. represent a new genre, not by being restricted to a negative view of society, but by creating shock and sensation in exposing the desire and freedom of youth.”
daelim museum ryan mcginley

magic magnifier exhibition

And the studio B & W series…..


One last take of my favourite piece.
ryan mcginley exhibition in seoul One thing I like about Daelim Museum is that visitors are able to take studio picture at the mini studio at level 2, get a series number then retrieve it when you reach home. I didn’t get to try this as we were rushing home and the queue for this studio photoshoot was super long.Strongly recommend this if you have the time to wait.


How to enjoy CHEAPER entrance fee? 
Daelim museum has two kinds of membership, the “Online Membership” and the “D membership”. Both entitles you discount for exhibitions. Online membership is free of charge and can enjoy 40% discount on entrance fee, priority on reservations on events and lectures held in Daelim Museum, and of course receiving updates via their e-letters.

“D Membership” wise, you get 3 free admission passes to the Museum, one free admission to the exhibition, one free drink at the member lounge, advance notice of all sorts of promotions and exhibitions held in Daelim Museum. They are having promotion for D membership right now. It cost KRW 23,000 earlier but now you only need to pay KRW10,000 to be a D Member. You can join the membership at the lobby of the Museum if you are interested. For more info, click HERE. 

exhibition souvenir ryan mcginley photography

Audiences are also able to bring back home posters of 3 of his photography works home after visiting the exhibitions. I really like how their marketing team market the Ryan McGinley related products. Huge posters, nicely printed colour diary, bookmark, and even this eco bag! I was unable to tear myself away from this bag and… of course, this little bag that cost KRW 8000 became another GET-item of the month.

Outside of Daelim Museum

Stepping out from the overcrowded gallery—- I must say this kind of “Mustang” Jacket is the winter hit item in Korea. Out of 6 girls including me at the area where the picture was taken are wearing it thanks to the popular Drama The Inheritors (The Heirs) (왕관을 쓰려는 자, 그 무게를 견뎌라 – 상속자들).

Never mind the k-pop element, this item is good as it is light in weight, at the same time the fully lined fur keeping you warm in the winter. I survived wearing it under minus 5 degrees celsius. : )


For those who are interested in the exhibition, do visit Daelim Museum before 23rd February! Visiting time and details please check below. You may want to join their online membership beforehand to enjoy the 40% discount for your entrance ticket. 

How to get there:
1. Coming out from Exit No. 3 of Gyeongbok Palace Station (경복궁역 3번 출구) of the Orange Line, walk straight.

2. 3 blocks down until you reach an alley like the picture below, where you can see Starbucks down the alley. (International Signboard are compulsorily to be written in Korean here at Insadong Area so please take note of the “Starbucks green” signboard with Korean wording: 스타벅스)

PC267439e13. Continue walking down the alley and you will see a white bungalow surrounded by grey-white brick wall. Here you will see the signage “Daelim Museum”. Follow the signboard and you will reach its back gate, which is the entrance of the museum.


Map of how to go to Daelim Museum. (Click to enlarge)

how to go to daelim museum

Contact Details:

Ryan McGinley – Magic Magnifier
2013 Nov. 7th — 2014 Feb.23rd.

Daelim Museum 대림미술관 (CLICK) 
35-1 Tongui-Dong, Jongno-Gu, Seoul.110-040
Tel: +82 720-0667
Visiting Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am-6pm
Korean Version of the Address: 대한민국 서울특별시 종로구 통의동 35-1

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