National Gugak Center shines light on North Korean performing arts
Gonggan E-um, which means “connecting spaces“ in Korean, will display a total of 82,000 documents and materials related to Korean traditional performing arts including books, audiovisual materials and North Korean music materials.
Kim Hee-seon, the head of the gugak research team of the National Gugak Center, described Gonggan E-um as a turning point for the National Gugak Center, where the existing archives change to an open space available to the public.
"The space that connects the library, museum, art gallery and archive in one place will help people search for materials related to Korean traditional music more easily,” Kim said.
The North Korean Music Center in Gonggan E-um will reveal to the public for the first time North Korean music collections that have been compiled and researched by the National Gugak Center for the past 20 years.
More than 15,000 pieces of data collected by the North Korean music archives, including books, newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, videos, photos and music will be sequentially released to the public and researchers.
In the instruments section, visitors can experience 15 different national instruments that are actively used in North Korea, including okryugum (traditional string instrument), 21-string gayageum (traditional zither) and jangsaenap (traditional oboe).
A miniature model of the stage allows visitors to experiment with the "flowing” stage art that is distinctive to North Korean national opera —which doesn't use curtains or go blackout to change the setting — but instead uses natural transitions of settings in the background.
“We expect that the special exhibition will help North and South Korean music rebuild homogeneity,” Song Sang-hyuk, the art and science researcher of the National Gugak Center who organized the exhibition, said. “The exhibition will provide a glimpse into the evolution of North Korean music after the division.”
BY KIM YEON-AH [email@example.com]
Gonggan E-um is closed on weekends. The special exhibition “From Moran Hill to the Daedong River” runs through Dec. 6. and is closed on Mondays. Admission is free.