“Teenager, Teenager”: Chinese art duo Sun Yuan and Peng Yu present “Teenager, Teenager,” a work composed of six freakishly-human-resembling, stone-headed wax figures. Mirroring the artists’ wish to break the boundary between art and reality, the work is only one of the duo’s many bizarre performance-accompanied artworks. Freedom is another keyword to understanding the duo’s art, as it is the underlying theme of the two video works also on display. The exhibition runs through Oct. 9 at Arario Gallery Seoul in Samcheong-dong, central Seoul. For more information, call (02) 723-6190 or visit www.arariogallery.com.
“KIAF 2011”: The 10th Korea International Art Fair is underway at COEX in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul, and is bigger than ever. It offers over 5,000 artworks ranging from paintings, sculptures, installations, media works and photos. A total of 192 art galleries including 117 local ones and 75 from 16 other countries are joining the event. There is expected to be almost 2,000 participating artists. KIAF 2011 runs from through Sept. 26. Tickets range from 10,000 won to 15,000 won. For more information, call (02)766-3702~4 or visit www.kiaf.org.
“Face” by Han Young-wook (KIAF)
“Agony and Ecstasy”: Artistic highlights from business mogul and noted collector Franois Pinault’s impressive collection have been brought to Seoul. Exhibits include paintings, sculptures, installation works and photos by four renowned contemporary artists ― Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Cindy Sherman and Takashi Murakami. The show offers a rare chance to see Hirst’s formaldehyde solution installations and Murakami’s sculptures of exaggerated sexuality. The exhibition runs through Nov. 19 at SongEun ArtSpace in Cheongdam-dong, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 3448-0100 or visit www.songeunartspace.org
“4th Gwangju Design Biennale”: The nation’s biggest design biennale is currently underway at the Biennale Exhibition Hall and throughout the Gwangju Metropolitan City with new and unexpected exhibits that proved its growth in quality since the previous season. Largely divided into four sections ― “Named,” “Unnamed,” “Communities” and “Gwangju Folly” ― 141 refreshing projects by 135 designers and 73 design firms from 44 countries each offered their own definitions of design. The biennale will run through Oct. 23 at the Biennale Exhibition Hall and throughout Gwangju Metropolitan City. For more information, visit www.gb.or.kr.
“French Art Today: Marcel Duchamp Prize”: Latest trends in the French contemporary art world can be spotted at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province. About 100 artworks by 16 artists who either won or were nominated for the prestigious Marcel Duchamp Prize, including Philippe Ramette, Camille Henrot and Michel Blazy are on display. The exhibition runs through Oct. 16. Admission is 5,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2188-6114 or visit www.moca.go.kr.
“Swept Away": Chronographer Kang Hye-ryeon will showcase her latest dance project titled ”Swept Away." She has been showing interest in the theme of time for the past 12 years, and her new work mirrors her thoughts. Divided into three sections and adorned with the spectacular use of lights, colors and sounds, Kang’s performance tells a story about Kang’s lifetime so far. It will run from Oct. 7 to 8 at Sogang University’s Mary Hall in Sinsu-dong, central Seoul. Tickets range from 20,000 won to 40,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3216-1185.
“The 14th Seoul International Dance Festival”: Hosted by Seoul Section of the International Dance Council CID-UNESCO, this year’s SIDANCE offers 51 dance performances of various genres by 52 dance companies from 17 different countries. The event will run from Sept. 29 to Oct. 16 at Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul, Hoam Art Hall and Sogang University Mary Hall in central Seoul and other places throughout the city. Tickets range from ... For more information, call (02) 3216-1185 or visit www.sidance.org.
A scene from Kang Hye-ryeon’s “Swept Away” (cidunesco)
“Romeo and Juliet”: Korea National Ballet presents the classic ballet “Romeo and Juliet.” Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra will play the music composed by Serge Prokofiev and the choreography will be by Jean-Christophe Maillot. Conductor Cheong Myung-whun will take the baton. It will run from Oct. 27 to 30 at Seoul Arts Center’s Opera Theater in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 5,000 won to 150,000 won. For more information, call (02) 587-6181 or visit www.kballet.org.
“Miso”: Translated as “beautiful smile,” the musical “Miso” offers a compact presentation of everything Korean culture first-timers could wish for. It blends ten different kinds of traditional dances, five traditional games and a wedding ritual into the main storyline based on a well-known folktale, “The Tale of Chunhyang.” There are very few spoken lines throughout the whole performance, making it ideal for audiences of diverse nationalities. “Miso” is showing as an open run at Chongdong Theater in Jeong-dong, central Seoul. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 751-1500 or visit www.koreamiso.com.
“Sydney Symphony Orchestra”: The Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s first concert in Korea on Nov. 16-17 at the SAC’s Concert Hall is also noteworthy. Virtuoso pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy is the principal conductor of the orchestra, visiting Seoul this time with cellist Mischa Maisky and pianist Evgeny Kissin. The program includes Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1, Brahms Symphony No. 1, Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1 and Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2. Tickets range from 70,000 won to 250,000 won. For details, call (02)599-5743.
Pianist Evgeny Kissin who will collaborate with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (Vincero)
“Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra”: The world-renowned Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, led by conductor Simon Rattle, will come to Seoul again for concerts for two days on Nov. 15 and Nov. 16. Sponsored by Samsung Electronics and organized by Kumho Asiana Cultural Foundation, the first evening concert will take place at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall for Mahler Symphony No. 9 in D Major. The second day, the orchestra will move to Sejong Center for the Performing Arts for Bruckner Symphony No. 9 in d minor. The two symphonies were both the composers’ last symphony. On Nov. 16, Ravel’s “Alborada del gracioso” from the suite “Miroirs” and Hosokawa’s Horn Concerto “Moment of Blossoming” will be also staged. Stefan Dohr will collaborate for the horn concerto. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 450,000 won. For more information, call (02) 6303-7700.
“St. Petersburg Philharmonic”: The St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, led by artistic director and conductor Yuri Temirkanov, will come to Seoul again to showcase romantic and powerful European classical music for two days. Violinist Sara Chang will collaborate with the orchestra. Tmirkanov’s seasoned skills and precise interpretation of music will create synergy with Chang’s stormy passion and energy. The concerts will take place at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall on Nov. 8-9. The Nov. 8 program includes Liadov Kikimora Op. 63, Sibelius Violin Concerto in d minor Op. 47 and Rachmaninov Symphony No. 2 in e mino Op. 27. The next day, the first half is the same, followed by Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5 in e minor Op. 64.
“Russell Sherman Piano Recital”: American pianist and educator Russell Sherman is to hold a recital at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall on Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. Having performed at internationally-famous concert halls including Carnergie Hall, Russell is also known for playing with prestigious orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic. The Seoul’s recital program includes Schumann’s Arabeske in C major, op. 18 and Liszt’s Sonetto 104 del petrarca. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 90,000 won. For more information, call (02) 580-1300.
“Il Gardellino”: Renowned Belgian Baroque ensemble Il Gardellino will hold its first concert in Korea. The concert will take place at the LG Arts Center on Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. The harmony of nine members, led by oboist Marcel Ponseel, will stage 18th-century European classical music. The program includes Alessandro Marcello Oboe Concerto in d minor, Bach Cantata BWV158 “Der friede sei mit dir,” Johann Gottlieb Janitsch Quartet in g minor for oboe, violin, viola and basso continuo, Antonio Vivaldi Sinfonia “Al Santo Sepolchro” for strings, RV169 and Bach Cantata BWV 82 “Ich Habe Genug.” Tickets range from 30,000 won to 70,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2005-0114.
”Rush Hour Concert”: The LG Arts Center hosts a series of concerts at 7 p.m. for workers in Seoul who may want to get away from heavy traffic and enjoy music for just one hour. On Sept. 27, the chamber orchestra Camerata Antiqua Seoul will stage popular commercial songs and film OST. On Oct. 11, pianist Bae Jang-eun will play jazz music and on Nov. 3, indie band Kingston Rudieska will perform ska. Ticket is 15,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2005-0114.
Indie band Kingston Rudieska (LG Arts Center)
“X Japan live in Seoul”: Japanese heavy metal rock group X-Japan will meet their Seoul fans at a live concert on Oct. 28 at the Olympic Park’s Gymnastic Stadium. Formed in 1982 by Yoshiki and Toshi, the band gained huge popularity in the late-1980s with their second album “Blue Blood.” Although the group disbanded in 1997, it reunited in 2007 and began performing live together again. Their representative songs include “Kurenai” and “Endless Rain.” Tickets range from 77,000 won to 187,000 won. For more information, call (02) 548-0597~8.
“The Real Group”: Swedish a cappella quintet The Real Group will perform on Sept. 27 at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. Famous for jazzy arrangements, the group writes and plays a wide range of songs mixed with Swedish pop melodies. Their famous songs include “I Sing You Sing,” an introductory song much loved by a cappella beginners. “Words” and “Small Talk” are often covered by a cappella ensembles all over the world. The group performed at the opening ceremony of the 2002 World Cup. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information, call (02) 599-5743.
“Yanni Concert in Seoul”: New age pianist Yanni from Greece will come to Seoul for a concert at the Olympic Park Gymnastic Stadium on Oct. 14. The Greek pianist celebrates both the 40th anniversary of Hyundai Department Store and his newly released album “Truth of Touch.” His representative songs such as “Aria” and “Santorini” will be staged. Tickets range from 99,000 won to 270,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488.
“Yangyang Songi Festival (Pine Mushroom Festival)”: Known as “golden mushrooms,” songi in Yangyang County in Gangwon Province that naturally grow under old pine trees are strictly prohibited from public access. However, at the Yangyang Songi Festival, visitors can tour the natural habitat of the mushrooms, pick them and sample dishes made with them. The festival will take place Sept. 29-Oct. 3 at the Yangyang Namdaecheon Stream Event area. Programs will include a mushroom-harvesting experience for international visitors, songi treasure hunt, a village experience and a field trip to learn the ecology of songi. For more information, visit yangyang.go.kr.
“Busan International Film Festival”: Previously known as Pusan International Film Festival, Korea’s first and largest international film bash is getting a new acronym along with a new, exclusive screening venue in Haeundae. The upcoming event, running from Oct. 6-14, is the first festival since its founding director Kim Dong-ho’s retirement. A total of 307 films from 70 countries will be screened at five venues in Haeundae, including the newly opening venue this year. The festival will open with Korean director Song Il-gon’s upcoming film “Always.” Co-starring actor So Ji-sub and Han Hyo-joo, the movie tells a love story between a former boxer and a young visually impaired woman who works as a telephonist. For tickets and information, visit www.biff.kr.
“Wonju Hanji Festival”: The Wonju Hanji Festival will be held from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2 in Wonju, Gangwon Province, which has a rich history of producing hanji -- Korean traditional mulberry paper. This year, the festival opens the Hanji Theme Park for the first time. The festival will hold a special opening event, the Hanji Fashion Show. The Hanji Theme Park also boasts a colorful array of lanterns made of hanji. More than 100 exciting events, programs and performances such as a hanji puppet show, a Korean traditional shuttlecock contest and hanji craft. Nearby tourist attractions include Chiaksan National Park, Baeunsan and Sinrim Seonghwangrim Forest. For more information, visit www.wjhanji.co.kr.
“2011 Icheon Ceramic Festival”: Icheon, boasting 1,000 years of history in ceramic arts, will hold the famous “Icheon Ceramic Festival” from Sept. 24 to Oct. 23 at the Seolbong Park in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province. Visitors will see a variety of Korea’s finest ceramics such as cheongja (celadon porcelain), baekja (white porcelain), and Buncheongsagi (grayish-blue powdered celadon). Highlights include the ceramics excavation program, and a workshop in which visitors can draw their own artwork on slightly heated pottery. Hot springs are located nearby as well for good relaxation. For more information, visit www.ceramic.or.kr.
A visitor draws artwork on pottery. (Icheon Ceramics Festival Organizing Committee)
“Mimosa Pudica”(Yutzpracachia) : Inspired by the real-life story of Anne Sullivan (1866-1936), the famous teacher of Helen Keller, Bukchon Art Hall’s current play “Mimosa Pudica” tells a story of a young girl who has been severely traumatized by the American Civil War and untreated trachoma, an infectious eye disease which leaves her almost blind. The play starts as Annie, who lives in a hospital orphanage, becomes emotionally unstable after her only sibling, Jimmie, dies. As her aggressive behavior gets uncontrollable, the abusive and uncaring staff members of the hospital decide to send her off to the institution’s mental-care unit. Tormented and hurt by her past and her failing eye-sight, Annie refuses to talk and acts violently whenever the Big Annie, the loving and kind-hearted nurse at the mental unit, tries to console her. Annie’s condition doesn’t seem to get better, but the Big Annie wouldn’t give up. One day, the nurse gets Annie a flowerpot of Mimosa pudica, a strange plant which apparently has to be constantly touched by humans in order to survive. Open run at Bukchon Art Hall, near Anguk subway station exit number 3, in central Seoul. Tickets cost 25,000 won. Children must be 10 or older to be admitted. For more information, call (02) 988-2258.
A scene from the play “Mimosa Pudica.” (Joy People)
“Falling for Eve”: Actor Bong Tae-gyu, who has played mostly comic roles in his previous movies and TV shows, will star as the biblical character Adam in American playwright Joe DiPietro’s new musical “Falling for Eve.” A Rutgers University graduate, DiPietro has written many long-running off Broadway shows, including “Nice Work If You Get It” (2010), “The Toxic Avenger (2008), and “All Shook Up” (2005). He won Tony awards for the score and lyrics he wrote for musical “Memphis.” “Falling for Eve” is another version of the story in the first book of the bible. DiPietro’s Adam refuses to take the forbidden fruit from Eve, and tries to find his own paradise along with his wife. The first Korean production of the show was performed from July 23 till Sept. 11 at the M Theater of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, and the second show with the same cast will run from Sept. 23 to Nov. 13 at Chungmu Art Hall in central Seoul. Tickets cost 50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 1577-3363.
“Mamma Mia!”: The global smash hit musical “Mamma Mia” is back as a Korean production. Based on songs of ABBA, including “Dancing Queen,” “Money, Money, Money,” and “Thank You for the Music,” the musical offers a hilarious tale of a young bride-to-be’s search for her unknown father. The show premiered in Korea in 2004, and was last performed here in 2009 at the National Theater of Korea. The current show stars musical actress Choi Jung-won as Donna, the single mother whose daughter is about to get married. Pop singer Lee Hyun-woo, who had his musical debut with “Singles” back in 2007, appears as Harry, one of the three potential fathers of Sophie, Donna’s only daughter. The show runs until Feb. 26 at D-Cube Arts Center in western Seoul, located near exit 1 of Sindorim subway station. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 110,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2211-3000.
“Mahoroba”: Young theater company “DreamPlay” is bringing Japanese playwright Horai Ryuta’s theatrical account of women of different ages and their shared experiences. The play begins as Midori, a single working woman who lives alone in Tokyo while refusing to get married, visits her family in the countryside after breaking up with her boyfriend. She gets into an argument with her mother, Hiroko, as she is repeatedly asked about the reason behind the breakup. Then the play gets other women in the town involved, from an old lady in her 60s to a teenager. Each character offers their thoughts on being a woman, as well as many challenges and choices they face. The show runs till Sept. 25 at Theater Yeonwoo in Daehangno district in Northern Seoul. Tickets range from 25,000 won. For more information, call (02) 745-4566.