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[Well-curated] Nature-inspired crafts, virtual idols pop-up, artistic French dessertBy Moon Joon-hyun, Lee Si-jin, Kim Da-sol
Published : May 19, 2023 - 09:01
Seek artistic tranquility in nature-inspired crafts
For those with an appetite for the intersection of art and nature, Culture Station Seoul 284 in Jung-gu, Seoul is hosting the Korea Crafts and Design Foundation's exhibition, "Another Letter to Nature." Reimagining the 2022 Milan Korean Crafts Exhibition, this display blends human creativity and natural purity, showcasing over 300 works crafted from traditional and modern materials.
On entry, Jang Sung's "Given (2023)" greets visitors with a plastic lattice, transitioning to stone-like chairs on wooden plinths, and culminates in a large symbolic stone projection.
This triptych encapsulates Sung's belief in the Korean design ethos of balance between human needs and nature's essence. The chairs, standing as symbols of comfort, illustrate Sung's interpretation of Korean design: enjoyment of comfort that doesn't lead to excessive consumption of nature's resources.
Adjacent to the entrance, the 3rd Class Waiting Room echoes the Milan exhibition, where artists like Kang Seung-chul, Kim Kye-ok and Ryu Eun-jung first presented their works. In this iteration, "The Ground I Stand On," works are elevated on two-meter-high tables for closer inspection.
Crafts made from earthly materials such as metal and wood reside on soil-covered tables, embodying the understated, rustic aesthetic of Korean culture.
The 1st and 2nd Class Waiting Rooms transform into a digital landscape. Here, Goo Gi-jeong's “Extended Scenes,” a 3D tower displaying animal and plant remains, commands attention. Goo's manipulation of photographed soil elements in a 3D space produces images with a surreal touch.
The tower is complemented by eight young artists' interpretations of nature through various mediums, from mixed fibers and plastic to ceramics and even cable ties.
The Grill Room upstairs hosts inventive works by young artists, including Yeon Jin-young's "Long Pile (2023)," a red sofa constructed from industrial aluminum pipes and repurposed materials. Cho Sang-hyun's "The Voice of the Theater (2023)" offers a tactile, analog experience using mechanical techniques.
Nearby, The VIP Room presents a medium shift as Lee Sun constructs a stone-like tower from "hanji" -- traditional Korean paper -- in an innovative 3D form.
An additional highlight, Lee Kyu-hong's "Breath of Light (2022)," is displayed in the final corridor. Lee explores the interplay of stillness and motion in glass as the piece mirrors a natural landscape with laminated glass simulating broken ice shards, subtly reinforcing the exhibition's central theme.
Visitors are welcome from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. until June 4. Admission is free of charge and the exhibit is open to all ages.
"Debut or Die" pop-up store
When you walk to the entrance of The Hyundai Seoul, in Yeongdeungpo-gu from Yeouido Station via its underpass, it is not difficult to see the lines of passionate fans, hoping to visit their idols' latest pop-up store.
Interestingly, all seven members from a boy band are fictional characters from Kakao Entertainment’s popular web novel “Debut or Die.”
“Debut or Die,” which was also turned into a webtoon series, revolves around a 29-year-old civil servant examinee named Ryu Gun-woo who gets reincarnated as a 20-year-old named Park Moon-dae. The story develops as Park, who is living with his memory as Ryu Gun-woo intact, has a mission to debut as a K-pop boy band in a year.
Proving its monumental popularity among young readers -- recording more than 4.2 billion reads in South Korea -- the store is visited by many fans in their 20s and 30s.
Ranging from a public space advertisement at a Seoul subway station to light sticks and cheering towels, anyone can freely experience everything there is about the K-pop fan culture at “Debut or Die” pop-up store at The Hyudai Seoul.
The unique attractions of the store are the locker room, where the visitors can learn about the fictional character’s taste and interests through items inside the lockers.
Fans can also try the boy band members’ perfumes and get a four-image photo strip with their favorite member in a special frame.
Visitors can take a number from the staff to enjoy the various merchandise and programs at the store.
The “Debut or Die” pop-up store runs through May 24.
When madeleines become art
In a back alley near Sangsu Station adjacent to Hongik University, one of the most vibrant areas in Seoul, you can find a cafe called Dosikhwa that looks more like a museum.
When you step inside, each madeleine, a small shell-shaped cake with French origins, is spotlighted on a white display. The concept is madeleines as art.
After this “museum” experience, the other half of cafe features colorful madeleines made with ingredients like white cream meringue, lime, raspberry and cheese for sale. Each madeleine is individually packaged in a square box to maintain its shape.
Dosikhwa is located at Seogyo-dong 409-19, Mapo-gu, Seoul. The shop opens every day from 12 p.m. til 10 p.m.
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