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‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ continues to echo throughout Korea

It seems like the “Bohemian Rhapsody” phenomenon may never die out, evidenced by the concerts, shows and even a Seoul art exhibition paying tribute to Queen and the band’s legendary frontman Freddie Mercury.

Piling onto the onslaught of Queen-mania here, the exhibition “Bohemian Rhapsody: The Queen Exhibition” is to take place at Ara Art Center in Insa-dong, central Seoul, from Sunday to Oct. 6. The exhibition has been officially approved by Queen Productions. 


The exhibition is to shed light on Mercury’s life and Queen as a whole, including its music and message. It will display band archives and modern art pieces that reinterpret the band’s music and its impact.

“Me and another artist came up with this crazy idea about doing an exhibition about Queen. We sent a proposal to the official website of Queen Productions and amazingly, it worked,” artist Kim Hyung-kyu, in charge of arranging the exhibition, said at a press conference Friday.

Artist Kim Hyung-kyu speaks during a press conference Friday. (Yonhap)
Artist Kim Hyung-kyu speaks during a press conference Friday. (Yonhap)

The artist also mentioned that Jim Beach, the head of Queen Productions, was enthusiastic about the exhibition. According to Kim, Beach greatly appreciated that the exhibition artistically reinterprets the band’s legacy.

Seven artists -- six Koreans and one British -- participated in the reinterpretation. For instance, artist Choi Eun-jeong created an installation artwork inspired by Queen’s 1982 monumental hit with David Bowie, “Under Pressure.”

The exhibition held at Ara Art Center in central Seoul is spread across three floors, on around 3,305 square meters of floor space. It is divided into 10 sections named after hit Queen songs. Tickets are 16,000 won for adults, 13,000 won for students and 10,000 won for children.

Queen archivist Greg Brooks commented that the organizers have “pulled of an unusual, original and an interesting exhibition” about the beloved band.

“This exhibition is very refreshing for Queen,” he said.

Kim noted that the exhibition represents the recent booming popularity that Queen has enjoyed in the aftermath of last year’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which became the most successful music film in Korean box office history.

“This is more than an exhibition of the archives. Queen caused a sensation for the young people (here in Korea). It is a contemporary art reinterpretation about the sensation,” Kim said.

The phenomenon, evoked by the film’s October release and continued with constant air time for the greatest hits, saw young people previously unfamiliar with Queen go gaga over the British rock band. It sold 9.94 million tickets here, in a country of about 51 million people.

The resurgent popularity for the band here also led to tribute band the Bohemians visiting Korea, made it possible for the band’s official photographer to hold a photo exhibition here and will bring the current iteration of the band -- absent the deceased Freddy Mercury -- to Korea for concerts in January 2020.

By Im Eun-byel (