Music event puts visual art at the forefront of its grand transformation

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Music event puts visual art at the forefront of its grand transformation


Artwork on display at the Jisan Valley Rock Music & Arts Festival. From left are “Waterfall” by Kwon Yong-ju ,“Prism” by Yun Sabi with “Victoria” by Hong Seung-hye in the back, and “New Structure” by Gwon Osang. [YOON SO-YEON, KIM JUNG-KYOON, JOONGANG ILBO]

ICHEON, Gyeonggi - The Jisan Valley Rock Music & Arts Festival has always been better known for the “music” part than the art, but this year, festival organizers wanted to up the ante on the visual displays, offering entertainment for both the eyes and ears.

The theme of this year’s event, which took place from Friday to Sunday, was “Hide & Seek.” Scattered across the Jisan Resort, where the festival was taking place, were various pieces from six artists and a creative team at CJ E&M, the organizer of the festival. Rather than limiting itself to an event exclusively dedicated to rock music, the festival since last year has sought to expand its artistic horizon by offering diverse types of visual installations that dot the landscape and create an interactive playground of art.

Valley Rock aspires to become the first rock music festival that also offered an artistic experience for festivalgoers.

“We put our focus on pure fine arts rather than brand design,” said Ho Kyoung-yun, Rock Valley’s art director. “That was up to the CJ art team. Last year’s art was more like art workshops, and they didn’t stand out much. This year, we gave the art a strong identity in itself. The green hills that act as ski slopes in the winter work like a large green canvas, and I wanted to make the most of that.”

Standing tall on the hillside was a kinetic sculpture “Victoria” by artist Hong Seung-hye. The piece is reminiscent of the female symbol seen on bathroom signs, with moving arms that form a “V” at their apex.

The depiction of the female form at its simplest symbolizes modern society where women have a stronger voice, according to the artist.

“The V stands for Victoria, the goddess of victory, and also for Valley Rock,” Hong said in a press preview of the artwork on Thursday.

Other pieces included “Prism” by Yun Sabi, “Waterfall” by Kwon Yong-ju and “New Structure” by Gwon Osang.

“I combined a form inspired by American artist Alexander Calder’s ‘Stabile’ sculptures and the images related with the musicians participating in the festival, which I found by searching the internet,” Gwon said. “I hope visitors will sit and lie down around my sculpture.”

The “Hidden Bar” created by art collective Seendosi is a delightful piece of experimental art in which the bar itself is a work of art standing in stark contrast with the surrounding forest. Bright lasers, drinks and DJs create the mood of a mini-festival within a festival.

Noh Sang-ho, an illustrator famous for creating the album covers of popular rock band Hyukoh, designed the T-money card used for the festival. T-money is an automated fare collection system typically used for public transportation, and inside the festival, it was the sole payment method.

While not many visitors were properly aware of the artistic meaning behind the installations, people were happy to take pictures next to the shiny sculptures and colorful waterfalls.

Others, though, had more skeptical feelings about the artwork. “They look pretty,” said Park Jun-hyun, 24. “I think they’ll look prettier at night, but I was here last year, and to be frank it doesn’t have much of an impact.”

Although not everyone saw the meaning behind Valley Rock’s transformation into a music and arts event, some viewed the artistic change with deeper appreciation.

“Music and art are two inseparable things,” said Park Min-chae, 33, who has attended the festival five times. “I’m happy to see that Jisan [Valley Rock] is trying new things and making new changes. It’s sad that fewer people are coming because they don’t see the good in the change, but they have only just started trying the art thing, and I have high expectations.”


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