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By Korea Herald

Published : Sept. 14, 2012 - 20:48

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Exhibitions

“The 2012 Korea International Art Fair”: The 11th art fair highlights Latin American art featuring a total of 84 artists from 14 galleries, offering a glimpse into the Latin American art scene. It also presents a diverse selection of artworks from major art galleries in Korea and overseas. Lectures on Latin American art and Korean contemporary art are open to visitors on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. VIP lectures on art collaboration, art investment and trends are planned as well. Guided tours in Korean and English are provided to visitors throughout the fair. Guided tours in English start at 3:30 p.m. during the fair. For more information, visit www.kiaf.org or call (02) 766-3702.
“Circus” by Fernando Botero (KIAF) “Circus” by Fernando Botero (KIAF)

“Dung-seob, Go to Renaissance!”: Seoul Museum, a private museum founded by pharmacy business magnate and art collector Ahn Byung-gwang, holds its inaugural exhibition focusing on Korea’s modern painters such as Lee Jung-seob, Han Mook and Park Ko-suk from Sept. 29-Nov. 21. The exhibition sheds light on painters who were active in the 1950s to 1970s and contributed to the cultural renaissance in Korea. Along with the special exhibition, another exhibition featuring some top names such as abstract painter Yoo Young-guk, media artist Paik Nam June and female painter Chun Kyung-ja will be held throughout the year. Seoul Museum is located in Buam-dong, northern Seoul. For more information, call (02) 395-0100 or visit www.seoulmuseum.org.

“To Breathe”: Kukje Gallery presents the latest documentary and installations of the New York-based Korean artist Kim Sooja. The exhibition, which continues through Oct. 10, will feature about 10 works by Kim including the new documentary film “Thread Routes” and a video installation “Mumbai: A Laundry Field.” Well known as a multi-performer who combines performances, video and installations, Kim is expected to show life, culture and history of specific places around the world through everyday objects or activities such as thread and laundry. For more information, call (02) 3210-9885.

“Nostalgia is an extended feedback”: Nam June Paik Art Center holds a retrospective of pioneering video artist Paik Nam June until Jan. 20 next year in celebration of Paik’s 80th birthday. The exhibition features his major works as well as those by other artists who share Paik’s artistic goals that shed light on Paik’s philosophy of combining man, machine and nature. Major works displayed at the exhibition include “The Rehabilitation of Genghis Kahn,” an assemblage of a TV set, a bicycle and other materials made into a human-like form, “Marco Polo,” a human-form robot riding a car, and “Happy Hoppi,” a depiction of a Native American on a scooter wearing a glowing headdress and holding a bow and arrow. The art center is located in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province. For more information, call (031) 201-8571 or visit njpartcenter.kr.

“The Civilization of Maya”: Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Korea’s diplomatic relations with both Mexico and Guatemala, the National Museum of Korea is holding a special exhibition featuring some 200 relics from the Mayan civilization. The exhibition features a number of spiritual ornaments and statues. One of the shell ornaments from 7th or 8th century Guatemala symbolizes the god of death, and has a face that resembles a skull. An earthenware statue from 11th-15th century Mexico, on the other hand, is of the god of the sun. The Mayans called the god “Kin,” which meant day, time and the sun. The statue of the god wears a necklace decorated with five dots, which symbolize the center of the universe and the four directions: east, west, north and south.“The Civilization of Maya” runs from Sept. 4 to Oct. 28 at the museum’s special exhibition gallery. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.museum.go.kr.

“Best Wishes, Auspicious Symbols in Chinese Art”: In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Korea-China diplomatic relations, the National Museum of Korea is holding a special exhibition featuring some 100 Chinese artifacts used to wish good fortune. The pieces have been selected from collections from different museums and private individuals.

Titled “Best Wishes, Auspicious Symbols in Chinese Art,” the exhibition’s featured items include handicrafts decorated with images of Daoist immortals and auspicious animals, such as bats and dragons, with messages such as “Wealth and Honor,” “Living Ten Thousand Years” and “Prosperity of Descendants.” The messages well reflect the wishes of the ancient Chinese people, who yearned for longevity and happiness. Happiness and longevity continue to be two of the foremost wishes of the Chinese people today, according to the museum. The exhibition runs until Sept. 23 at the museum’s Chinese Art Gallery. For more information, call (02) 2077-9558.


Theater / dance

“Aida”: Korea’s Seensee Company once again presents the Korean adaptation of Elton John and Tim Rice’s musical “Aida.” The show was first staged in Seoul in 2005, and its second run was held in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, in 2010. Based on Giuseppe Verdi’s Italian-language opera of the same title, the show tells the story of Aida, Nubia’s princess who gets taken into slavery in Egypt. She soon gets attention from Radames, captain of the Egyption army, who is expected to succeed to the country’s throne after the Pharaoh’s death. For the 2005 run, former-idol-star-turned-musical actress Ock Ju-hyun starred as the beautiful and captivating Aida. This year actress Cha Ji-yeon and pop singer Sonya are sharing the lead role. “Aida” runs from Dec. 2 to April 28, 2013, at D-Cube Art Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555.

“Hedwig”: The Korean adaptation of John Cameron Mitchell’s rock musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” is being staged for its seventh run. The musical, which tells the story of an East German transgender singer, has been performed in Korea a total of 1,256 times since its opening run in April 2005. For the current run, actor Oh Man-seok, who was cast in the leading role in the 2005 run, once again takes the lead role. Actor Park Gun-hyung, who recently made his TV appearance in MBC drama “I Do, I Do,” is sharing the role with Oh. “Hedwig” runs until Oct. 21 at KT&G Sangsang Art Hall in southern Seoul. Tickets cost 55,000 won to 66,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555.

“What I Keep till the Very End”: Among the many short stories late author Park Wan-suh wrote, her 1994 piece “What I Keep till the Very End” is considered one of her most personal works. The story was written largely based on the author’s painful loss of her son in a car accident in 1988, just three months after his father’s death. He was 26 years old at the time and was attending a prestigious medical school in Seoul. The novella is now being staged as a monodrama in Seoul, featuring veteran actress Son Sook in the lead role. The actress has previously starred in three monodramas in the past, including last year’s “Shirley Valentine.” “What I Keep till the Very End” runs until Sept. 23 at Chungmu Art Hall in Seoul. For tickets and information, call 3272-2334.

“Chicago”: Veteran singer and musical star Insooni (“Cats”) and heavyweight musical actress Choi Jung-won (“Mamma Mia,” “Guys and Dolls”) are returning as Velma Kelly, the vaudevillian and murderess in “Chicago.” First opened in 1975, the “celebrity criminal” musical, which delves into the corruption of the authorities dealing with a murder case and a cabaret singer in Chicago in the 1920s, is Broadway’s fourth-longest-running show. The Seoul production’s music is directed by popular conductor and actress Kolleen Park, who also conducts a 14-member band that performs live along with the cast. “Chicago” runs until Oct. 7 at the D-Cube Art Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 110,000 won. For tickets and more information, call 1544-1555.
A scene from rock musical “Aida” (Seensee Company)
A scene from rock musical “Aida” (Seensee Company)

“Madam Domi”: National Dance Company of Korea is staging their 1984 original repertoire “Madam Domi,” 20 years after its first run in Los Angeles that year. Based on Korea’s well known folklore of Domi and his wife, the piece combines Korea’s traditional dance with pansori, as well as shamanistic rituals and practices. The folklore from Korea’s ancient kingdom Baekje (B.C. 18-A.D. 660) tells the story of a diligent carpenter Domi and his beautiful and happily married wife, Arang. Things start to get rough as cruel King Gaeru, after hearing about Arang’s beauty, forces her to leave Domi and be his concubine. When she refuses, the infuriated king decides to destroy Domi. In the dance piece, however, Domi appears as a musician who leads a troupe of singers and dancers. The piece also ends in a tragedy unlike the original folklore. “Madam Domi” runs from Sept. 14 to 19 at the National Theater of Korea in Seoul. For tickets and information, call (02) 2280-4114.

“Theatre of Operations”: French choreographer Pierre Rigal was invited by Korea National Contemporary Dance Company in 2010 to hold workshops for dancers in Seoul. He was deeply moved and impressed by the dancers’ skills and enthusiasm during his stay in Korea. Nine Korean dancers were selected for “Theatre of Operations,” his original piece delving into contradictions of war and human civilization. The upcoming show was choreographed by Rigal specifically for those dancers. After the two-day run in Korea, the team will start their European tour. Starting in November, they will perform a total of 28 shows in a number of cities in France and Switzerland. “Theatre of Operations” runs from Sept. 14-15 at LG Arts Center in southern Seoul. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2005-0114.

Festivals

“Geumsan Insam (Ginseng) Festival”: Geumsan is famous for its high-quality ginseng. The Insam Festival, held every September since 1981, is a traditional cultural event in which villagers pray for a good harvest the following year. Programs include ginseng harvesting, performances of traditional arts and rituals, concerts, an international ginseng trade fair, a ginseng cooking competition and more. The festival runs from Sept. 14-23 in Geumsan, South Chungcheong Province. For more information, visit www.geumsan.go.kr/html/tour/festival/festival_0204.html or call (041) 750-2413.

“Cheongju Jikji Festiva”l: Jikji, the world’s oldest text printed with metal type, has been designated by UNESCO as a Memory of the World artifact. Cheongju, the home to the world’s oldest movable metal type, has held the Jikji Festival since 2003 as part of plans to develop the city into a “center of printing culture” like Germany’s Mainz, and to promote Jikji around the world. Programs include taking part in ancient printing methods, performances of traditional plays and music, and exhibitions of old printed texts. The festival will run from Sept. 18-23 at Cheongju Arts Hall and Cheongju Early Printing Museum. For more information, call (043) 200-4542 or visit the Web site www.jikjifestival.com.
Performers in a mask dance parade at the previous Andong International Mask Dance Festival. (Andong Mask Dance Festival) Performers in a mask dance parade at the previous Andong International Mask Dance Festival. (Andong Mask Dance Festival)

“Andong International Mask Dance Festival”: The Andong International Mask Dance Festival will be held from Sept. 28-Oct. 7 on the main stage in Andong and Hahoe Village. The theme of this year’s festival is “The Festival of Adorable Devils.” From old times, the mask dance has been used to indirectly criticize the ruling “yangban” class. The yangban, or ruling elite of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), were often criticized and condemned by the common people but since direct criticism of the yangban was strictly forbidden, the common people satirized the yangban from behind masks. Visitors to Hahoe Village, one of the two South Korean villages recently added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, can see the villages’ Confucian cultural legacy. For more information, call (054) 841-6397~8 or visit the website www.maskdance.com.

Pop music

“Keane Concert in Seoul”: British alternative rock band Keane will hold their first concert in Seoul on Sept. 24 at Handball Stadium at Olympic Park. The four-member band with Tim Rice-Oxley on piano and bass, Tom Chaplin on vocals and guitar, Richard Huges on drums and Jesse Quin on bass and percussion is currently on world tour. Keane rose to fame with its debut album “Hopes and Fears” in 2004. The band’s hit song “Somewhere Only We Know” was featured in U.S. drama series “Grey’s Anatomy.” Tickets range from 99,000 won to 125,000 won. For more information, call (02)3141-3488 or visit www.superseries.kr.

“Hallyu Dream Festival”: The annual Hallyu Dream Festival will be held at Gyeongju Citizen Stadium in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, from Sept. 21-23. The three-day event will feature not only popular idol groups but also veteran Korean singers including Bobby Kim, Nam Jin, Maya, Can and Tae Jin-ah. The list of K-pop groups include BEAST, KARA, 4 Minute, Afterschool, T-ara, Sistar, BtoB, EXID, Davichi, Rainbow, Infinite, MBLAQ, A Pink, U-KISS and Ailee. For more information about the festival, call (053) 950-3333 or visit hallyudreamfestival.or.kr.
Abdullah Ibrahim (Jarasum Int’l Jazz Festival) Abdullah Ibrahim (Jarasum Int’l Jazz Festival)

“Jarasum International Jazz Festival”: The 9th Annual Jarasum International Jazz Festival is scheduled to take place on Jarasum and in downtown of Gapyeong County, Gyeonggi Province, from Oct. 12-14. The festival will feature professional jazz bands including The Jimmy Cobb, Larry Coryell, Joey DeFrancesco All Star Trio, Duke Ellington Orchestra, South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, jazz guitarist John Scofield and many others. A three-day pass is 60,000 won. For more information, visit jarasumjazz.com or call (031) 581-2813~4.

“Michael Bolton Concert in Seoul”: Pop star Michael Bolton holds two concerts in Busan and in Seoul on Oct. 15 and 17, respectively, as part of his world tour. Bolton gained huge popularity in Korea in the ’80s and ’90s with his songs “Love is a Wonderful Thing,” “How am I Supposed to Live Without you,” “When a Man Loves a Woman” and many others. The 59-year-old singer will perform at Jamsil Gymnastic Stadium in Seoul and at BEXCO Auditorium in Busan. Tickets for the Seoul concert are from 66,000 won to 180,000 won while tickets for the Busan show are priced at 140,000 won and 180,000 won. For more information, call (02) 407-2589 or 1544-1555 for reservations.


Classical music

"European Jazz Trio": The European Jazz Trio, a premier ensemble from the Netherlands, will give a concert at LG Arts Center in Seoul on Sept. 16. The trio debuted in 1984 and became internationally recognized after the release of their second album “Norwegian Wood” in 1988. Even though the founding members have since departed, the current members have well developed the musical style and tradition of the band. The current members of the trio are pianist Marc Van Roon, bassist Frans van der Hoeven and drummer Roy Dackus. Tickets are from 22,000 won to 88,000 won. For more information, call (02) 720-3933.

“Yundi Piano Recital in Seoul”: Star Chinese pianist Yundi Li returns to Korea with Beethoven sonatas on Oct. 31 at Seoul Arts Center. Yundi rose to fame after he won the first prize at the International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 2000. He was 18 then. Chopin’s compositions have been his signature pieces but now the 30-year-old pianist brings his favorite Beethoven sonatas including “Moonlight,” “Pathetique” and “Appassionata.” Tickets are 50,000 won to 110,000 won. For more information, call (02) 541-3183.
Pianist Seo Hye-kyung (Seongnam Arts Center) Pianist Seo Hye-kyung (Seongnam Arts Center)

“Pianist Seo Hye-kyung Recital”: Acclaimed pianist Seo Hye-kyung, famous for her passion for music despite her fight with cancer, will hold a recital at Seongnam Arts Center on Sept. 15. Starting with Beethoven’s Rondo Op. 51-1 in C Major and Chopin’s Etude Op. 25-1 “Aeolian Harp,” the pianist will perform Franz and Libermann’s Four songs of Robert Franz Op. 91 for the first time in Korea. Tickets are from 30,000 won to 100,000 won. For more information, call (031) 783-8000.

“Salon Concert Namsan”: A small concert for “gugak,” or traditional Korean music, is currently being held every Monday and Tuesday evening at Seoul Namsan Traditional Theater near Namsan, Seoul. Featuring the country’s famous gugak musicians, the concert takes place in a “hanok” room, part of the theater that fits only 20 audience members. The concert is a reenactment of Joseon’s “pungnyu” culture, or the cultural events appreciated by Joseon’s high society. The audience will get a chance to talk to gugak musicians while drinking tea after the concert. Tickets are 50,000 won. The concerts run through Nov. 27. For more information, call (02) 2261-0511~2 or visit sngad.sejongpac.or.kr.