Friday, February 21, 2020

‘Peach Blossom’ in bloom

May 11. 2016
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By Lee Woo-young
The Korea Heral

Next stop, contemporary art, at Seoul's former railway station

The former Seoul train station, now Culture Station Seoul 284, is hosting a multi-arts festival that might prompt commuters to linger before catching their trains at the new station next door.

The arts show “Peach Blossom: Hopeful Flower of Utopia”, organised by the Korea Craft and Design Foundation and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, brings together 27 individual artists and teams from seven countries.

They’re presenting interactive art that attempts to “stimulate the six senses of visitors”, says artistic director Shin Su-jin.

The Culture Station Seoul 284, a Western-style building erected in 1925, reopened in 2011 to offer diverse arts projects, ranging from contemporary dance, theatre and music to visual arts and films.

The festival has site-specific installations that explore innovative forms of art such as sound, interactive media and video in the old lobby, the waiting rooms and the stationmaster’s office.

At the entrance, architect Kook Hyoung-gul has built a vertical labyrinth using plastic shipping pallets. Viewers navigate through to find an image of waterfalls painted by Lee Hee-won.

In the former stationmaster’s quarters, Kim Joon has installed a wooden casket in which viewers can lie to listen to Buddhist percussion and prayers and sounds captured in churches.

The sound can also be heard from outside the coffin, but the bolder visitors will want to experience the strange feeling of lying inside a casket. It’s up to them to interpret what’s intended, since the staff offer no clues.

In the old VIP lounge is a tree hanging from the ceiling that appears to be supported by floating red balloons. Kim Myeong-beom’s installation is a popular photo spot for passers-by.

The art project also affords chances to participate in theatre, dance and music performances presented by foreign artists.

On Saturday at 2pm London-based composer Gabriel Prokofiev will be mingling classical and electronic music. The grandson of celebrated Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev is known for mixing classical and popular styles for his record label Nonclassical.

Spain’s Marisa Silbatriz Pons will demonstrate how she turned her childhood habit of blowing whistles into an artistic performance at 2 on May 28.

And at 8pm on June 17, Korean-American Bora Yoon will give a recital of music created from the sounds cellphone buttons make when pressed. The concert is called “Phonation”.

The third floor of the station is a theatre screening 38 movies recommended by Korean and French artists, fashion designers, actors, film critics and psychiatrists.

In June you can see the satirical comedies “Modern Times”, “Idiocracy” and “Playtime” – the choices of French artist Orlan, who underwent plastic surgery to resemble the Mona Lisa and the goddess of love in Botticelli’s painting “The Birth of Venus”.

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