Scenery of the Emptiness, and Asia

The exhibition Scenery of the Emptiness, and Asia at the Asia Culture Center (ACC) reinterprets the beauty of space in East Asian art, linked to the artistic concept of “uigyeong (意境),” through a contemporary art perspective.


Asia Culture Center

Practice Area


Asia Culture Center


The Challenge

Under the vision “A Window of Asian Culture to the World,” the ACC annually selects a main theme for the spreading of Asian culture. All projects designed by the ACC extract various detailed concepts from this theme, in order to pursue brand leadership that creates synergy in a mutually organic and creative way.

The 2022–2023 theme of the ACC is the “City Culture of Asia.” Meanwhile, the exhibition, <Scenery of the Emptiness, and Asia>, was submitted to the 2023 SEGD Global Design Awards with the aim of showing “a modern reinterpretation of humans, nature, and space through aesthetic ideas in Asia,” with the sub-theme “oriental garden—traditional gardens and visual concepts in East Asia.” These themes serve to comprehensively and systematically visualize the ACC’s overarching theme “City Culture of Asia” by analog and digital convergenced media and contents.

Based on an audience satisfaction survey conducted the previous year, the main target audience of this exhibition was set to teenagers and women in their 20s and 30s. It is thought that women in their 20s emerged as a new audience due to the previous exhibition’s theme—”Instagrammable” (meaning something so visually unique and trendy that Instagram users enjoy sharing it). In addition, family visitors were also confirmed as an important sub-target audience.

Project Vision

Traditionally, in East Asia, there is a tendency to perceive humans and nature as one. For instance, people in ancient China thought that all objects in the world were connected to each other—that as an organism, humans and nature were entangled in a “relationship” and healed each other in an endless cycle. Unlike in the West, where the beauty of shape is regarded important, people in East Asia believed that shape and idea were combined to create essential meaning. Therefore, it was not only visible shape, but also the beauty of emptiness or invisible “ambience (情趣),” that played a significant role space creation.

This is well exemplified through the concept of uigyeong. Uigyeong refers to harmony between real scenery and fictional scenery. Here, “real scenery” means the beauty of shape directly revealed, while “fictional scenery” refers to inspiration or a spirit of association and imagination aroused when looking at “real scenery.” Through uigyeong , the traditional aesthetics of space in East Asia brought nature to the space of emptiness. Organic harmony between humans and nature was sought out, giving humans the chance to be part of nature. This is the leading concept and motive behind the exhibition, <Scenery of the Emptiness, and Asia.>

The Convergence Garden expressed the spatial beauty of Asia with the motif of Soswe Garden, one of the most beautiful gardens in harmony with nature of Korea.

Myungrae Park, Asia Culture Center

A digital entrance wall to represent the light that unites the universe in the exhibition, Scenery of The Emptiness, and Asia

Myungrae Park, Asia Culture Center

Design + Execution

For this exhibition, a unique, cylindrical structure was designed to express the symbolism of Asia, communication with the visitors, and to show off exhibition content. Its name, “Sangsangwon” (Imaginary Circle), reminds us of a ‘tulou’, a traditional large circular residence in China, because they both show the function and harmonization of communal living spaces.

A symbol of vibrance, a fog ring meets a digital ring in the form of an LED chandelier— transcending tradition and the present. In the curve, the outer space of the circular structure, people find a digital traditional Korean garden. Reproduced in a three-dimensional space, ink paintings appear. Traditional Asian paintings are drawn on white paper, symbolizing emptiness, and the linework, with black ink. Similarly, in the exhibition, the bright light from a projector creates a virtual moon. It reveals—like shadows on papered windows of a hanok—the atmosphere of a traditional garden with wind sounds and bamboo. In the scene, humans harmonize with nature in tacit communication. This communication, together with East Asia’s aesthetics of space and emptiness, is what this exhibition aims to deliver to audiences.

The ellipses rotate as if they share the same body, but through subtle misalignment, which forms an atypical and opaque membrane, an abyss-like spatiality is exposed.

Myungrae Park, Asia Culture Center

A small train moves slowly on tracks and emits light onto objects and casts shadows on the wall. visitors are simultaneously encouraged to imagine a dream in the space.

Myungrae Park, Asia Culture Center

The energy of life is expressed with a fog ring, and through harmony with the digital ring of the chandelier, analog and digitally aesthetic communication is expressed

Myungrae Park, Asia Culture Center

This shelter, set up in the corner of the exhibition hall, is a visitors-friendly rest and meditation area where they can relax while appreciating Korean natural beauty based on convergence.

Myungrae Park, Asia Culture Center

Asian aesthetic beauty is originated from its unadorned nature. Through the help of Asian beauty, people can feel the unforgettable lingering impression of the exhibition in this photo zone.

Myungrae Park, Asia Culture Center

Project Details
A beautiful and immersive expression of the relationship between nature and oneself using creative lighting and environmental techniques.
Juror 1
Smart use of shadow and light and lo-fi techniques to create an atmosphere with a limited budget. It doesn’t hit you over the head with culture—it’s experienced room to room giving you space to breathe, underscoring East Asian perspective on space.
Juror 2
Design Team

Sanghyun Lee (principal curator in charge, creative art director)
Hyehyun Kim (curator, project manager)


Design Bombi (spatial design) /E.Min: Donghoon Kang, Heeyoung Koh, Jeoungeun Kim, Heeyoung Kim, Danbi Choi, Sojin Joy Kim, Goeun Yu (planning)
Cheonpoong Electricity (electrical settings)
H.D Plan (graphic installation)
Youngjae Son (technical)
Hwayong Jung, A.A. Murakamo, Kohui, Hitoshi Kuriyama, Jung Sungyoon, Jean-Julien Pous, Ryoichi Kurokawa, Jiyen Lee, Bongchull Shin, Dongjoo Seo, Ryota Kuwakubo, Yongju Lee, Kyoko Kamaguchi, Hou I Ting, Pia Mannikko, Bongkwan Kim; Knock’em

Photo Credits

Myungrae Park, Asia Culture Center (photography)
Seonwoo Kim, Asia Culture Center (videography)

Open Date

December 2022