Old meets new in ‘Deoksugung Project’

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Old meets new in ‘Deoksugung Project’


Airan Kang’s “Luminous Days of Korean Empire,” left, and Lim Soo-sik’s folding screen of chaekgado, paintings of traditional bookshelves, are on display in central Seoul’s Deoksu Palace as part of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art’s “Deoksugung Project.” [MOON SO-YOUNG, MMCA]

It’s been five years since the critically acclaimed “Deoksugung Project,” a contemporary art show housed in the buildings and courtyards of Deoksu Palace in central Seoul, was first held, and this year, it’s back for a second edition under the theme “Light, Sound, Landscape.”

The exhibition opened Friday as a collaboration between the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and the Cultural Heritage Administration. “Nine artists have created and installed their works in various parts of the palace, considering the spatial and historical contexts of the places,” curator Im Dae-geun said.

Inside Deokhongjeon, a hall that was once used by the king for receptions, contemporary artist Airan Kang has arranged a collection of colorful book-shaped sculptures on the hall’s shelves. Titled “Luminous Days of Korean Empire,” the piece reflect the hopes of an intelligent and independent country under King Gojong (1852-1919) who proclaimed himself emperor of the Korean Empire from Deoksu Palace. But his hopes were broken when the country was colonized by the Japanese.

On the opposite side of the hall is a large folding screen printed with photographs of bookshelves. The piece, by artist Lim Soo-sik, is a modern version of chaekgado, paintings of bookshelves that were popular during the late Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).

Other works include a series of photographs by Yeondoo Jung, a video by Jang Min-seung produced in collaboration with composer Yang Bangean, and images of fireworks and explosions by Lee Jin-joon projected onto the walls of King Gojong’s bedroom.

BY MOON SO-YOUNG [symoon@joongang.co.kr]

The exhibition runs through Nov. 26. A 1,000 won (90 cent) entry fee to Deoksu Palace covers the show. For details, visit www.mmca.go.kr or call (02) 2022-0600.
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