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Artists turn old factory neighborhood into vibrant art space

The 7th Mullae Arts Festival, Aug. 21-25, presents exhibitions, dance and plays to local residents and citizens

“Gymnopedies Series,” by Park Eun-young (Mullae Arts Festival)
“Gymnopedies Series,” by Park Eun-young (Mullae Arts Festival)
Over the past five years, young artists have been moving into Mullae-dong in northwestern Seoul in search of affordable space. The influx of artists into the former steel workshop site has made the area one of the most vibrant artistic spots in Seoul with the number of artists reaching an estimated 200.

Often compared to Willamsburg in Brooklyn, New York City, Mullae-dong is now seeking to get closer to local residents and citizens in Seoul with its annual art festival.

The 7th Mullae Arts Festival, which runs Aug. 21-25, invites people into the creative world of young artists who took over the empty steel factories around town.

“I hope the audience can find time to immerse themselves in art at the festival. The festival is also an opportunity to discover young talent and help them relate to the audience,” said Kim Eun-jeong, director of the Mullae Arts Festival. 
A scene from a dance performance by Ambiguous Dance Company (Mullae Arts Festival)
A scene from a dance performance by Ambiguous Dance Company (Mullae Arts Festival)

The festival aims to make art more accessible through an assortment of art exhibitions, dance performances and plays. It will feature four art exhibitions that include video work by Geum Min-jeong, who visualizes the gap between time through a 90-second video installation installed on a glass wall. Artist Park Eun-young presents an interesting installation of human figures hanging on sticks.

The festival also hosts 14 dance performances by small Korean dance troupes.

Ambiguous Dance Company presents a playful performance that intends to portray the solitude of modern people on Aug. 22 and 23 at 8 p.m. at the Box Theater in Mullae Art Factory.

Another dance group, People in Backpack, invites the audience to participate in their staging of the happiness and sorrows of human beings delivered through a performance of handing out food on Aug. 25 at 6 p.m. on the third floor of the Box Theater.

The festival also presents a joint project between the Mullae artists and REM Theatre of Australia, through which Korean and Australian artists are showcasing a special dance performance, a result of their exchange performance project, which began in 2010.

The festival will open with a dynamic vertical dance performance by “Project Fly,” which will be held on the exterior wall of the Mullae Art Factory building at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

The audience can also participate in symposiums and discussions held throughout the festival period at the Mullae Art Factory and Hongeun Art Creative Center in Hongeun-dong, Seodaemun-gu.

Admission for dance performances scheduled to be held at the Box Theater is 10,000 won (seats are not reserved); and 5,000 won for artists, local residents and students. Tickets are sold from 7 p.m. between Aug. 21 and 23 and from 5 p.m. between Aug. 24 and 25. in front of the Box Theater.

For more information about the schedule, visit, or call (02) 2676-4300.

By Lee Woo-young (