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Chapter 87 Part 2 - The Mysterious Art Museum

A street artist's life changed when he ended up at a mysterious art museum. DBT,Korean,Novel,Translation,Art,Artist,Slice of life,Poor to Rich,Mystery

At Artist Company, Paju.

Youngju, who had been observing me since dawn, approaches as I sit in front of my PC.

“Aren’t you preparing for the exhibition? There’s no time to relax.”

“Oh, just searching for something.”


Youngju asks, looking at my monitor.

“Oil painting? Are you submitting it for the exhibition?”

Yeonjeong, a Western painting major, perks up her ears and runs over.

“Brother, are you going to paint in oil?”

“Well, I haven’t decided yet.”

Oil painting. A technique that enhances texture using knife painting.

After talking with my brother last night, I researched touchable paintings all night. Luckily, our company has a 3D printer, so we can create tangible, sculptural paintings after painting.

‘But can that be called a painting?’

Though oil paintings have texture, they shouldn’t be touched.

Oil paint, as the name implies, contains a lot of oil. It takes a long time to dry and can easily deteriorate from external impacts even after it dries.

What's created with a 3D printer is closer to a sculpture than a painting. I want to show real paintings to my brother and others who share his pain. But I can’t think of a way.

Yeonjeong, showing interest, hovers around me and soon leaves, bored with my silent search. But Youngju, arms crossed, still stands behind me.



“Thinking about your brother?”


This guy knows too much about me.

“Haha, kind of.”

“…………… Is it okay?”

Youngju’s question carries a hidden meaning.

While a brother's concern is admirable, displaying paintings for the blind at a joint exhibition in a hotel might not be competitive.


Youngju’s thoughts are valid.

The people I met yesterday. Jeong Soohan, Joo Chaeyoung, Lee Hwajeong, Jeon Kwangho, Kim Jeongmin.

All of them are young painters leading contemporary art in Korea. In a competition with them, I might need to choose the best of what I can do.


The museum inspired me to dream and to see the marginalized. And among them, I saw my brother. Is this really the path the museum wants me to take?

Feeling frustrated, I put down the mouse, pushed the chair back, and rested my head on my arms.

“Ah, it’s tough.”

Youngju still stands there, arms crossed, looking down at me.

I look at her face and suddenly remember that my friend used to be a docent at the Seoul Museum of Art. There probably aren’t many who understand the artistic aspect that Youngju needs to know better than her.



“About oil painting, is there no way to make the finished painting touchable? Like coating it after it’s painted.”

“Then the painting would be shiny, right?”


“And even with coating, it’s weak. The inside needs to be strong to enhance durability with a coating, but oil paint is too fragile.”

“So, there’s no way.”

“Do you want to make a painting that your brother can touch?”

“Yeah, if possible.”


Youngju pulls up a chair and joins me in my quandary.

"I want to find the answer to creating tactile paintings in the matiere technique."

Matiere, a French term meaning material or substance, is a term that encompasses all methods of adding texture to paintings. It includes any technique that creates a three-dimensional effect, like oil paintings with their rough surfaces.

Youngju, flicking the armrest of her chair with her finger, suddenly stops. She quietly observes the staff.

Who is she looking at? Then Youngju raises her hand and calls out.


"Yes, unni."

"Remember the catalog example you showed me yesterday?"

"Yes, unni."

"Bring all of those."

"Yes, one moment."

What? Why suddenly bring up the catalog we're working on?

When Jiyeon brings a large black binder, Youngju frantically flips through it. After spending some time looking at the various catalog examples, she flicks a page with her finger and hands it to me.

"Here it is."


The page Youngju hands to me.

A catalog commissioned by the Ho-Am Art Museum in Yongin.

"Kim Hwan-ki, the painter? Known for his moon jars and pointillism?"

"Yeah, we're handling the catalog for the Kim Hwan-ki retrospective exhibition."

"I know that. But why him? He's not known for oil paintings, right?"

Youngju stands up with a sly smile.

"Get up, get dressed."


"Jiyeon! Can we go to the museum now?"

Jiyeon, who had returned to her work, looks up and checks the time.

"Yes, we can go in, unni."

"Let's go for a bit."

"That's great, I needed more photographic materials anyway. Just a moment."

Watching Jiyeon gather her coat and bag, I ask Youngju.

"Why suddenly there? Isn't the exhibition not started yet?"

Youngju confidently smiles and says.

"We're insiders, so we can get in. I believe the exhibition setup is almost complete. All the artworks have arrived."


"You'll understand when we get there. Have I ever talked nonsense? Just follow me, dude."

That's right, Youngju might talk a lot, but she doesn't speak nonsense.

I decide to trust her and follow Youngju out. The three of us, including Jiyeon, drive to the Ho-Am Art Museum in Youngju's car, park, show our credentials at the security office, and enter the museum.

The Ho-Am Art Museum, founded by a prominent corporate founder in Korea, keeps its beautiful gardens open even when there are no exhibitions. Over thirty gardeners are preparing the garden for the upcoming exhibition as we walk towards the museum.

Jiyeon leaves to request some documents from the office, leaving Youngju and me alone.

Youngju looks up at the stairs leading from the first-floor lobby to the second floor and says,

"People often remember Kim Hwan-ki for transforming abstract elements like dots and lines into art through his ink diffusion technique."

"That's true."

"But world-renowned artists all go through a process of evolution. They put in a lot of effort to find their unique technique, and many works are born in that process."

"I know, the moon jars are also products of his intermediary phase."

"There are works from before he painted the moon jars."

"Like what?"

Youngju flicks her finger and heads to the exhibition hall on the left side of the first floor.

As we enter the exhibition hall, a desolate scene unfolds before us, with artworks hanging in an empty museum. Youngju flicks her finger and points in one direction.


Where Youngju's fingertip points.

The answer lies at the very end of my gaze.

I beam with joy and put my arm around Youngju's shoulder.

"As expected, my friend!"

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