[FOUNTAIN]The colorful, humane world of Chagall

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[FOUNTAIN]The colorful, humane world of Chagall

In hard-hearted reality, poverty has no escape and security is challenged. Competition is followed by hatred, and uncertainty accompanies victory. Can we trust the smiles on people’s faces? How can we be sure that promises will be kept? How do we recover broken pride? How do we cope with feelings of depression and incompetence?
I would like those of you who agree with at least one of the abovementioned miseries to meet Marc Chagall. Near Deoksu Palace, the Seoul Museum of Art is hosting an exhibition devoted to Chagall. He died in 1985 at age 98, but his works live on to communicate with viewers.
The exhibition is titled “The Magician of Color, Chagall.” But you don’t have to know color to appreciate his works. Even a colorblind person can receive Chagall’s gift of the pleasure of liberation, peace, life and love.
Chagall removed the law of gravity from the world, and also changed the relationship between people and their environment. Chagall’s world no longer overwhelms people: The characters in his works are often floating in the air. They are lovers, newlyweds or family. The characters float across the sky that fills the upper half of the canvas. A young couple flies over pink clouds that remind us of cotton candy. The long, black hair on the back of a nude woman softly pushes an ashen city. Standing tall, the city looks up at the people above it. The vertical tension seems to worship the horizontal peace.
Chagall sometimes gives humanity to animals and life to objects. A green goat with innocent human eyes embraces a red man, a yellow woman and their village. The snowy winter scene could not get any warmer. Another piece depicts a swiftly moving wall clock with wings. Full of life, Chagall’s clock revives the happy memories that had been sleeping in our consciousness.
What Chagall may have wanted to tell us is that life and movement in primary colors is inspiration itself. In fact, he famously said, “In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love.”
In this record-breaking hot summer, you might yearn for the ocean. But if you cannot afford to go on vacation, getting to know Chagall’s soul would be the best alternative on a Saturday afternoon. Marc Chagall will stay in Seoul until mid-October.


by Chun Young-gi

The writer is a deputy political news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

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