Art encounters come to city sidewalks

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Art encounters come to city sidewalks

Seoul offers a wealth of noise, dreary skies and concrete canyons for all. Resting places, alas, are a bit less common. Do you want outdoor art with that, too? It’s a rarity.
Deciding to take the matter into their own hands ― quite literally ― artists will enliven the city this summer with a “Street Art Festival,” employing everything from decorative park benches to metal doors with provocative messages inscribed on them. Elements of color, play, noise, rest, travel, meditation, humor, laziness and childish behavior are incorporated into their works.
From May 25 to June 15, they will put on “Recovery of the Streets ― Art Objects for the City” in front of the Heungkook Life building in Sinmunro.
“I wanted to create a fun and lively street where artwork and pedestrians become one,” says Park Sam-cheol, planner of the street project and director of Art Consulting Seoul. A wooden sculpture by artist Kim Ju-ho, tells the tale of tigers smoking cigarettes. Jeon Hyeon, meanwhile, has created a percussion sculpture which can be played by pedestrians. Ahn Gyu-cheol’s seat art is a resting spot for weary souls ― and soles.
A symposium, “Public Art Practice at Work,” will be held at the Ilju Art House on June 11 at 6 p.m. For more information, call (02) 723-7277.
Foreign artists are joining forces with their Korean counterparts in the “Benchmarking Project” at Seoul’s Namsan and Peace parks, with the participation of ten Swiss and 15 Korean artists. The two parks contain 25 wooden benches shaped into various forms of art by painters, sculptors, display artists and designers from both countries. Organizers say these “art benches” are bound to provide passersby with some unexpected rest.
The Swiss Embassy in Korea organized this public art exhibition with help from Laurence Geoffery’s, an art promoter. The outdoor exhibit commemorates the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission, a committee of five nations including Switzerland set up handle prisoners of the Korean War. Fifteen Korean companies are sponsoring the project. For more information, call (02) 551-2741.
Also, Gallery Artside will sponsor a project at Yeouido park, entitled “Art Bench with Citizens.” It is sponsored by the Korea Culture and Arts Foundation. Call (02) 725-1020 for details.

by Chung Jae-suk
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