An exhibition of creativity? A Nobel idea

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An exhibition of creativity? A Nobel idea

Go to the Kyobo Bookstore, one of the largest bookstores in Seoul, and you will see the portraits of some Nobel prize winners on the wall of the entrance. Until President Kim Dae-jung won the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize, there had been an empty frame among those portraits, reserved for the first Korean Nobel Laureate.

The Nobel prize and its global authority has always been an object of adoration in Korea. And, this week, a traveling exhibition on the history of the Nobel prize will open in Seoul.

The Centennial Exhibition of the Nobel Prize will begin on Friday at the Rodin Gallery near the Seoul City Hall and will run through Nov. 13. The exhibition, initiated by the Nobel Foundation of Sweden, opened in Sweden last year and is now traveling to five countries: Norway, Japan, Korea, the United States and Germany. The Ho-Am Foundation is the co-host of the exhibition in Seoul.

Since 1901, there have been more than 700 winners of the Nobel prizes in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, economics and peace. Accordingly, one might fear the exhibition could be too vague and open-ended.

But that's not the case at all. With the title, "Cultures of Creativity: Individuals and Milieus," the exhibit has a clear theme. "The exhibition examines problems such as the nature of creativity and the conflict between environment and innate qualities in the creative process," says Svante Lindqvist, the director of the Nobel Museum under the Nobel Foundation.

The exhibition will delve into those questions through a number of case studies chosen from the work of about 50 Nobel laureates from different fields, nations and time periods. Those Nobel prize winners include the Polish-French female scientist Marie Curie, the U.S. human-rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. and the Irish dramatist Samuel Beckett.

The exhibition includes a show of short films that contrast the individual qualities and environments of the Nobel laureates. The exhibition also consists of those Nobel laureates' original artifacts, photos, and video materials.

The exhibition will also introduce the table setting for the banquet of the Nobel prize ceremony. Finally, the exhibition will present the founder of the prize, Alfred Nobel (1833-1895), through his articles, examining how the man who invented dynamite became known for his peace prize.

by Moon So-young

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