This week we had the privilege of attending the “Galaxy Odyssey – Matsumoto Leiji’s Ancient Future” exhibition in Seoul. As always, pricing and directions will be at the very bottom of the post.
Although I wouldn’t call myself a Matsumoto Leiji fan, it is undeniable that I am more than familiar with his work and style, but who isn’t? He is the creator of classics like Galaxy Express 999, Space Pirate Captain Harlock, and the iconic Interstella 5555 movie with Daft Punk, to name a few. Most significantly, he probably has one of the most distinct and easily identifiable art styles in the entire manga and anime industry, so while I am not a connoisseur of Space Operas, I grew up seeing this guy’s stuff on tv, however casually.
As I arrived to the venue of the exhibition I was a little worried it would be one of those exhibits where you get some descriptions, a couple items, and a souvenir shop, but I was very pleasantly surprised with an event full of creativity, with mixed media elements, and something I can say has been the best exhibition I have seen in Seoul.
The exhibition is being shown in Yongsan Electronics market area, which is perfect in order to give it the industrial, almost post-apocalyptic feeling atmosphere that made the experience so great.
The staff was all really kind, and although they don’t speak English, don’t worry about it because it really isn’t necessary to enjoy and get around.
The exhibit is separated into 3 sections: Archives, Homage, and Experiential. The Archives show his work process, ideas, and merchandise. The Homages take inspiration from his work and they are pieces made by other artists, and the Experiential take the Leiji universe in concept and make it their own.
The homage sections explore different episodes of Galaxy Express 999, and there is a strong focus on Maetel above anything else.
Much like Matsumoto’s work, the exhibition explores technology and its place in our current society. It incorporates elements of mechanics, surveillance, and art in order to create a really immersive, really unique experience that elevate anime into true art. Not only that, the exhibit’s various pieces are beautiful to look at and if you are interested in photography, they make great photo ops! (Although there were a couple people who literally took 20 hours to take one picture which was not very nice of them in regards to the other visitors).
My favorite part of the whole thing was definitely the display of Matsumoto’s work space. For some reason I had a moment of deep reflection and inspiration in which it struck me how infinite humanity’s potential for creativity is. It was wonderful to be a part of that world, however briefly.
Finally there is a snacking area that is even decorated to suit the atmosphere. There is ramen and vending machines.
Like the Makoto Shinkai exhibit, there is a section for you to trace an image. I tried my best again but it seems like I am the worst person at tracing!
At the very end is a souvenir store with lots and lots of very high quality and reasonably affordable items. The pins were gorgeous and they had so much stuff that I wanted to get! In the end I bought a tote and a pin.
I am honestly incredibly impressed by the experience and delving into Galaxy Express 999 is at the top of my list when I have time. I have read incredible reviews about how underrated Matsumoto’s work is, so it’s definitely something I will shift my focus to next.
The exhibition is on until October 30, 2018.
Closed on: September 24 and 25
Times: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday: 12pm-8pm (doors close at 7:30pm)
Friday, Saturday: 12pm-9pm (doors close at 8:30pm)
Address: Closest exit is Yongsan Station Exit 3