A classy club experience

By Korea Herald

‘Klang With Concert’ offers classical music, fine art at Club Octagon

  • Published : Feb 23, 2014 - 19:23
  • Updated : Feb 24, 2014 - 09:46
Artist Kim Mu-ho gives a painting performance at “Klang With Concert: Anticipation” on Feb. 20. (Shinhwa TGR)

Fine art and classical music do not always have to be enjoyed in a gallery or a solemn concert hall. Traditional Korean paintings and classy brass sounds filled one of Seoul’s trendiest nightspots last Thursday evening, as calligrapher-painter Kim Mu-ho and the 10-member Klang Brass Ensemble presented their visuals and sounds under flamboyant lighting and LED screens at Club Octagon in southern Seoul.

“Klang With Concert: Anticipation,” a monthly fund-raising concert, brought hundreds of people to the club, transforming the main dance floor into a stage showcasing live painting performances by Kim and groovy music by the brass ensemble.

The artists offered their talents and performances for free for the February event, jointly organized by Shinhwa TGR ― a cultural event organizer ― and Club Octagon, the world’s 12th-biggest nightclub.

On Thursday night, the main lounge of the club was transformed into a “media art gallery” displaying works by Kim, who mixes Korean traditional ink stick painting techniques with modern-style colors and brushstrokes. All of the paintings were donated by the artist for the occasion and became available for purchase by event attendees through a silent auction.

The night kicked off with a grandiose painting performance by Kim, who made seemingly effortless brushstrokes on the large, white scroll spread out on the floor as a group of elderly musicians in traditional Korean attire performed “pansori” ― a traditional folk narrative performance ― in the background.

As Kim gracefully made one seemingly rough yet thoughtful stroke after another, four black galloping horses gradually materialized to the delight of the audience. The artist completed the work by splashing blue paint onto the horses’ backs in celebration of 2014, the “Year of the Blue Wooden Horse” according to the Chinese zodiac.

Another highlight of the night was a collaborative performance by Kim and DJ Beejay, the club’s musical director. Kim worked behind the main screen on the second floor of the club, as the screen was illuminated from behind to reveal Kim’s silhouette moving around and painting away.

The performance was supplemented by large, flashy LED screens beaming with colorful visuals as well as anticipatory music prepared by the DJ on the ground floor, as audience members watched rough lines turn into two beautiful owls perched atop a tree in the mountains.

“The eclectic mix of traditional Korean folk music with live painting inside a well-advertised nightclub provided an oddly entertaining experience to say the least,” said Jae Yoo, who attended the concert on Thursday. “It was quite exciting to see art transpire in real time right before my eyes ... (and) for a great cause.”

The Klang Brass Ensemble performs at “Klang With Concert: Anticipation” on Feb. 20. 
(Sohn Ji-young/The Korea Herald)

The night concluded with a spirited performance by the Klang Brass Ensemble, which took the audience back with groovy brass arrangements of classical pieces such as Bach’s “Air on G String” and modern big band favorite “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

The “Klang With” monthly concert series began one year ago as part of the “Share Love Program,” created to raise funds for the less fortunate in the local community by staging performances featuring volunteer artists. Each month, parts of the proceeds from the concert are transferred to the Community Chest of Korea, a large Korean charity organization that carries out philanthropic activities locally.

By Sohn Ji-young (jiyoung.sohn@heraldcorp.com)