T R I BUT E TO T H E MYS T E R I O U S F LOWE R

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - The Beauty -

Sul­wha­soo had ev­ery in­ten­tion to make this ex­hi­bi­tion an im­mer­sive jour­ney – one that utilises all five of our senses. The cul­tural mécé­nat took ad­van­tage of ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to make the sen­so­rial ex­pe­ri­ence a bet­ter one, in­clud­ing and es­pe­cially, the gallery build­ing struc­ture. The ship­ping con­tainer ar­chi­tec­ture framed the en­tire ex­hi­bi­tion, wrought with graphic de­signer Dongjoo Seo’s bright, sharp colours, and vi­su­alised the tale of crape myr­tle for its vis­i­tors. Through the seg­men­ta­tion, mag­ni­fi­ca­tion, and re­con­struc­tion of the ac­tual im­age of the crape myr­tle, Seo saw the orig­i­nal of­fwhite out­look of the Bluesquare Nemo Gallery as the per­fect blank can­vas, and trans­formed it into his own in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the for­eign flower.

As we stepped into the lobby of the gallery, un­der­stand­ing A Tale of Crape Myr­tle was cru­cial at this point. Love, loss, sac­ri­fice ... all preva­lent themes in South Korea’s strife-filled his­tory, but in­stead of ro­man­ti­cis­ing th­ese com­mon folk­lore ideas, the story hon­oured the coura­geous spirit of the lead­ing woman. The ex­hi­bi­tion was all about em­brac­ing that, while at the same time, cham­pi­oning the pos­si­bil­i­ties of find­ing hope in a tragic story.

Past the lobby of the ex­hi­bi­tion space where the start­ing scene was set, in­stal­la­tion artist Min­seop Yoon por­trayed an im­age of an idyl­lic sea­side town through her line draw­ings with thin, black plas­tic rods. It was the unas­sum­ing con­trast to the ac­tual back­drop of the tragic story – the clean out­lines of the fish­ing boats, vil­lage huts, and chil­dren play­ing did noth­ing to warn or fore­tell the on­slaught of emo­tions.

FAR F ROM T R AN­QUI L I T Y

A Tale of Crape Myr­tle be­gins right away with a sea­side vil­lage plagued by a three-headed python, at wit’s end un­til its peo­ple sought to of­fer the crea­ture a maiden from each house as sac­ri­fice. On ap­pointed days, the fire-breath­ing python emerged from the depths of the sea, cap­tured the girl with its tail as if she’s the catch of the day, and dis­ap­peared into the abyss. When it turned its evil tail on a very beau­ti­ful woman, a young man from a neigh­bour­ing vil­lage de­cided to step in. With all the courage he could muster, he sat on the al­tar on her be­half, and waited. When the three-headed mon­ster got close enough, the man drew the sword he was hid­ing in his robe, and swung it at the python’s di­rec­tion, hard.

To trans­late the en­counter into a Sul­wha Cul­tural Ex­hi­bi­tion piece, in­ter­ac­tive artist duo TeamVoid used LED mod­ules that worked upon a mo­tion sen­sor. Set up against the two walls par­al­lel to each other in the semi-dark room, the LED mod­ules also formed a line in the cen­tre. Vis­i­tors could walk past th­ese mod­ules and pro­voke their move­ments, cre­at­ing di­verse pat­terns with the light-and-shadow play. It was the emo­tional jour­ney that we had to em­bark on our own. Whether we walked fast or slow wholly de­pended on us – a chal­lenge di­rected at us to feel the tor­ment and the anx­i­ety both the young woman and man felt dur­ing the or­deal.

I NTO THE B LUE

While the python lost one of its heads and re­treated back to the sea, the man turned down the maiden’s re­quest of him to marry her. In­stead, he vowed to hunt down the python and its two re­main­ing heads, to re­turn with a white flag if he suc­ceeded once and for all, and a red flag, if he didn’t. Sul­wha­soo in­vited 3D an­i­ma­tor

Colour chang­ing coffee stir­rers that are sen­si­tive to heat and mo­tion

LED mod­ules that re­acted to mo­tion – a per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence for ev­ery­one present

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