Korean culture under spotlight during K-Culture Week in France

By Lee Woo-young
  • Published : Jun 2, 2016 - 14:04
  • Updated : Jun 2, 2016 - 17:49
A variety of events that highlight Korean traditional and contemporary culture, ranging from traditional dance to K-pop, are taking place this month in France.

“K-Culture Week,” from June 1-7, was designated by the Korean and French governments. Its highlights include dance performances, exhibitions, food events and a literature event. 

Dancers perform at the biennial French dance competition Danse Elargie. (2015-16 Korea-France Year)

It seeks to boost the ongoing two-year-long series of cultural exchanges between the two countries to mark the 2015-2016 Korea-France Year, celebrating their 130th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

“These events can introduce diverse aspects of Korean culture to French people who are interested in Korean culture beyond K-pop,” said Choe Jun-ho, artistic director of the organizing committee for the 2015-2016 Korea-France Year, at a news conference in Seoul last week.

During K-Culture Week, 14 cultural events are being held in nine cities in France.

In Lyon, the National Dance Company of Korea’s traditional dance performance “Mookhyang” will capture the eyes of French audience with elegant hanbok stage costumes designed by fashion designer Jung Ku-ho highlighting Korean beauty. “Mookhyang” performances will be held from June 8-9 at the Grand Theater in the French gastronomic capital. 

Korean dancers perform “Mind-Goblin” at Rencontres Choregraphiques Internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis, a festival of contemporary dance. (2015-16 Korea-France Year)

In Nantes, the annual Korean culture festival, Printemps Coreen, now in its fourth year, will be held from June 8-9. The festival will present Korean traditional music, or gugak, contemporary music concerts and Korean movie screenings. 

The celebrated KCON music festival is being held in Paris for the first time on June 9. It has been held before in the U.S. and Japan, but this is the first that that it is being held in tandem with a food festival and product fair in Europe. The K-pop concert has a stellar lineup that includes SHINee, Bangtan Boys, FT Island, Block B, f(x) and I.O.I. It is scheduled to be held at the Accor Hotels Arena, a 12,000-seat venue in Paris. Tickets sold out within three hours of going on sale, according to the organizers.

“I’m excited about the KCON. This is a good chance for K-pop singers to meet their foreign fans. It is a must-visit event for Europe-based K-pop fan groups, including Bonjour Coree, and one that can introduce K-pop to a wider audience,” said Alexandra Andre, head of Bonjour Coree, a Paris-based K-pop fan group.

On Friday, Korean and French scholars will gather at the Paris Sorbonne University to talk about Korean classic literature.

To add a gastronomic touch to the cultural festivities, Korean restaurants will be distributing coupons that can be won through Korean food quizzes and other pop-up events until June 6 in Paris.

Korean art exhibitions will also be held as part of K-Culture Week. 

“Chateau de Chambord” by Bae Bien-u on exhibition at Chateau de Chambord (2015-16 Korea-France Year)

Photographer Bae Bien-u, best-known for his pine tree photos, is holding an exhibition at Chateau de Chambord until June 12. Bae had taken photos at the French castle, capturing it in the four seasons. These pictures are on view along with his signature Korean pine tree photographs.

At the Jardin du Palais Royal in Paris, artist Jeong Hyun’s standing men sculptures, made of abandoned industrial materials such as asphalt, steel frames and wood, are on display until June 12. 

Meanwhile, a joint exhibition between the Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art and the Domain de Kerguehennec, an art museum in an 18th-century chateau in Morbihan, is showcasing Korean monochrome paintings and abstract sculptures from the GMMA’s permanent collection until June 5. 

Korean traditional funereal figurine kkokdu (2015-16 Korea-France Year)

In Nice, an exhibition of Korean traditional funereal wooden figurines, or kkokdu, is being held at the Museum of Asian Art until Nov. 7. 

By Lee Woo-young (