The old tragic stories behind Deoksugung will be revealed through the reinterpretation of contemporary artists (photo courtesy of National Museum of Art).
Seoul might be best described as a place where tradition and modernity coexist. Those two elements are brought together in harmony in Deoksugung Project. On display are modern creations by twelve contemporary artists from various fields including visual arts, music, dance, and design to the backdrop of the 400-year-old palace Deoksugung.
Focusing on the history and trauma of Deoksugung, the installation exhibition opened on September 19. The project displays nine major artworks around six historic pavilions and the palatial garden.
Lye Jae-ha's "T ime" projects video images on the façade of Junghwajeon, which was used for morning gatherings. The large numbers of laser lines that intersect one another over the pavilion invite viewers on the journey of transcendental time (photo courtesy of National Museum of Art).
Installation artist Suh Do-ho expressed the inner conflicts, anxieties, and grief of King Gojong who had witnessed the early death of his two queens and reigned during a time of national crisis from Hamnyeongjeon, which used to be his bedchamber. Suh came to choose this private and secretive place of the tragic king, inspired by the attestations given by court ladies that three boryo (Korean mattresses) were prepared for King Gojong every night. Suh's inquiries turned into a chain of questions and it resulted in research, installation work, a performance, and a video.
The stories behind Deoksugung during the tumultuous period might have provided the reason for its debut as the background of the project. The history of the palace dates back to 1593 when King Seonjo returned after the Imjin War ended. Since then, a lot has happened in this region. Queen Inmok was confined here for five years during Gwanghaegun's reign and it was the place where King Injo, the son of Queen Inmok, acceded to the throne while Gwanghaegun was accused of his bygones. Also, King Gojong's forced abdication took place here after the dispatch of a secret mission to the Hague in order to appeal the injustices of the Treaty of 1905, or "Protectorate Treaty" with Japan. Deoksugung is where King Gojong breathed his last breath too.
Yee Soo-kyung's "Tear Drop" (photo courtesy of National Museum of Art).
The simple and unrefined place of Seogeodang where King Seonjo died and Queen Inmok was confined was seen as a symbol of the tragic destiny of Deoksugung in the eyes of artist Yee Soo-kyung. Yee placed her dazzling sculpture of a tear drop, consisting of thousands of LED lightbulbs, inside Seogeodang. One cannot obtain a clear view of the shining sculpture through which she tried to explain the paradox that it is sad but still beautiful and brilliantly lit but not recognizable just as the fates of countless women including the tragic queen in that turbulent period.
The sculptural works accompanied by a variety of participatory activities that engage viewers in the forms of sound art and performing arts prepared at Deoksugung will give a great chance to view the past, present, and future of Korea.
By Lee Seung-ah
Korea.net Staff Writer
Source : www.korea.net/NewsFoc... ( English Korean )
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