Exploring the Meaning Behind the Name

The first issue of -Up begins with delivering the first impression of the name “Sahng-up Gallery”. Many people who visit the gallery are curious about the name, which can be translated to “commercial gallery”. Despite its name, not many people would think that this space, which is located in Euljiro and Mullae and looks far from a white cube, is “commercial”. Sahng-up Gallery has always introduced itself as an alternative exhibition space, and ‘alternative’ often goes with ‘nonprofit’. Therefore, the name “Sahng-up Gallery” seems to have some kind of contradiction or a move to overcome it.

A building on Euljiro 3-ga, where is Sahng-up Gallery Euljiro located.

Then, how should we define the character of Sahng-up Gallery between for-profit and alternative?

Sahng-up Gallery is a name created to embrace the social value of art, the social/commercial role that art could take. Rather than excluding profitability from the alternative, Sahng-up Gallery pursues the sustainability of Korean art based on the social value of art.

Sahng-up (상업) here does not refer to the traditional Chinese character ‘商業’, which is translated to “commercial”. Instead, it refers to ‘相業’, which embodies the meaning of “mutual”. The gallery aims to achieve a mutually beneficial relationship between artists, who present the future of Korean art, and curators, who contribute to the new directions and paradigms of art. As the artists present new artworks, the curators would host the exhibitions to direct and build up the latest trend in the art industry. This mutual relationship and self-sustaining activity would drive consumption by forming a quality foundation for production. Through small but continuous opportunities and spaces for artists and curators to collaborate, the art industry would grow naturally.

The two branches–Euljiro and Mullae–of Sahng-up Gallery have different objectives. 

Sahng-up Gallery Euljiro, established in 2017, aims to shed lights on the leading artists of Korea, as well as revealing the identity and characteristics of the Korean art. Currently, Euljiro branch holds 8-10 exhibitions annually, and exhibitions by representing artists are also held periodically (see the ‘ARTISTS’ section on the website).

View of Kelvin Kyung Kun Park's solo exhibition <Medium Rare> , Sahng-up Gallery Euljiro.

On the other hand, Sahng-up Gallery Mullae, established in 2019, is more experimental. It is a non-profit exhibition space focused on alternative media and experimental content. By utilizing the dynamic cultural aspects of the Southwest part of Seoul which surrounds the Mullae Arts Village, the gallery aims to operate it as a space open to various exhibitions and projects of emerging artists.  

View of Yunji Gu's solo exhibition <A Neat Knot>, Sahng-up Gallery Mullae.