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