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Traveling far in search of inspiration

Traveling far in search of inspiration

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Published : 2013-12-15 19:20
Updated : 2013-12-15 19:20

A residency program at Arts Council Korea has been dispatching artists to some of the most remote places in the world.

Expeditions visit places such as the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, Lake Baikal in Siberian Russia and Antarctica.

Starting in 2008, the residency program has sent out more than 100 artists, giving them time to find inspiration while being immersed in a new environment and culture. On Monday, four artists will depart for Antarctica on a mission to explore new ways to practice their art at the King Sejong Station, a research station run by the Korean government.

The team, consisting of a writer, a movie director, a comic artist, an illustrator and a sound artist, will spend three weeks in the Antarctic, from Dec. 16 to Jan. 8 in search of fresh input in their art world. Comic artist Yoon Tae-ho is expected to run a comic series on life in the frozen south, which will later be released online; Lee Yi-eon is expected to create a new Antarctic-themed sound project.

The Arts Council Korea, an affiliate of the Culture Ministry, currently conducts several residency programs in China, Iran, Mongolia, and India, among other countries.

“The residency program means a great deal to artists, who always look for new stimulation and inspiration,” said Kim Ji-yeon, an independent curator, who led a team of four artists to Lake Baikal in 2012. 

Artists stage a performance in the South Gobi Desert as part of the Nomadic Residency Program in Mongolia in 2011. (Arko Arts Center)
Titled the “Nomadic Residency,” the trip often takes difficult routes to far-flung places.

Kim and four artists took a four-day trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway from Vladivostok to Irkutsk, and from there a boat ride to Lake Baikal, which Kim said was one of the most memorable times of the program.

“The journey helps artists produce good works and try new things,” said Kim.

One of the participants, writer Kim Seo-ryoung, changed the original characters in her almost completed novel, inspired by the people she had met on the trip.

The 2011 Mongolian trip concluded with a group exhibition, which showcased artworks inspired by Mongolian nature and culture.

“It expanded boundaries of the artists’ usual practices. Being in a new surrounding made them look for unfamiliar things within their inner selves,” said Park Soo-jin, director of the Multipurpose Art Hall EMU, who led the team in 2011 to rural Mongolia.

By Lee Woo-young (wylee@heraldcorp.com)

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