A Digitally Reimagined Korean Art Exhibition Opens

The Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines commemorates the country’s 75 years of friendship with Korea through Endless Landscape, a digitally reimagined Korean art exhibition.

The Philippines celebrated its 75th year of friendship with Korea through Endless Landscape: A Digitally Reimagined Korean Art Exhibit. The Korean Cultural Center of the Philippines (KCC) arranged the event to commemorate the rich history and culture of both countries through digital art. 

“Endless Landscape: Digitally Reimagined Korean Art has been organized to commemorate the long-standing friendship between the two countries,” the Korean Cultural Center said. The exhibition featured four immersive video art works capturing pivotal moments in different time periods in Korea. 

The digital art exhibit started on January 19 and will be available for public viewing until June 29.

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Past and present Korean cultures meet

The National Museum of Korea and the Chuncheon National Museum produced the four digital art videos with advanced technologies. The exhibit ensured that those who are unable to visit Korea would be able to engage with traditional Korean paintings. 

“Endless Landscape: A Digitally Reimagined Korean Art Exhibit” poster
“Endless Landscape: A Digitally Reimagined Korean Art Exhibit” poster/Photo from the Korean Cultural Center of the Philippines

Through this initiative, visitors will be able to appreciate the tapestries of each traditional painting. Lights, sounds, and brilliant colors filled the room, becoming a new way to absorb each artwork.

The digital art exhibition started with opening remarks from the National Museum of Korea’s education and cultural executive director Kim Dohyung. Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Lee Sang-hwa also spoke at the beginning of the ceremony and so did National Commission for Culture and the Arts executive director Oscar Casaysay. 

“This exhibition provides a great opportunity for meaningful cultural exchanges between our two countries,” Lee said. “I hope that it will showcase Korea’s rich tradition and substantiate its position as a digital powerhouse that can further strengthen our bilateral partnership.”

From L-R: Kim Myeongjin, Korean Cultural Center Director, Oscar Casaysay, National Commission for Culture and the Arts Executive Director, Lee Sang-hwa, Ambassador of Korea to the Philippines, Kim Dohyung, National Museum of Korea Executive Director of the Education & Cultural Bureau and Jeong Myounghee , National Museum of Korea Exhibition Division Head
From L-R: Kim Myeongjin, Korean Cultural Center Director, Oscar Casaysay, National Commission for Culture and the Arts Executive Director, Lee Sang-hwa, Ambassador of Korea to the Philippines, Kim Dohyung, National Museum of Korea Executive Director of the Education & Cultural Bureau and Jeong Myounghee , National Museum of Korea Exhibition Division Head/Photo from the Korean Cultural Center of the Philippines

Gayageum artist Ju Bora serenaded the crowd with melodious traditional Korean music through the 12-stringed instrument. Dancers from the Bayanihan Dance Company performed a set of Philippine dances before the exhibition commenced. 

Nature and humans coexisting

“Endless Mountains and Rivers: A Prosperous World Unfolds In Nature” is a Korean historical masterpiece. The painter, Yi Inmun, served as a royal court painter during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897). The KCC explained that the artwork “depicted the lives of people living in harmony with immutable nature.” 

The exhibition showed mountain scenes, cliffs, and people using boats for navigation. Transport goods like carts, donkeys, and pulleys, connecting mountains, rivers, and villages were shown in the video, too. The KCC added that nature and humans coexisted and represented a prosperous world. The panoramic video artwork lasted for more than 12 minutes. 

“Endless Mountains and Rivers: A Prosperous World Unfolds In Nature"
“Endless Mountains and Rivers: A Prosperous World Unfolds In Nature”/Photo from the Korean Cultural Center of the Philippines

Depicting the Joseon Dynasty’s royal ceremonies

Digital artwork “Royal Processions with the People” is one of the four featured works in the exhibition. Korea’s Uigwe served as the inspiration behind the work of art, a unique collection of royal traditions during the Joseon Dynasty. The KCC narrated that the immersive digital artwork featured two major events: King Jeongjo’s procession to Hwaseong Fortress in 1795 and a banquet in 1796 to celebrate the structure’s completion. 

It recreated military drills during the Joseon Dynasty, too, showing the viewers scenes that occurred more than two centuries ago. The video production ran for more than 11 minutes. 

“Royal Processions with the People”
“Royal Processions with the People”/Photo from the Korean Cultural Center of the Philippines

Sublime and unusual landscapes of hexagonal rock pillars

“Pillars of Divinity, Chongseok Rocks” paid tribute to a renowned scenic attraction located in Tongcheon, Gangwondo Province. The rock formations have hexagonal rock pillars that line the coast. The KCC described them as if they were “carved by divine hands” and said they inspired legends and had drawn writers and painters to its structures.

Korean Empire Emperor Sunjong (1897-1910) authorized painter and calligrapher Kim Gyujin to create the painting, “Scenic View of Chongseok Rocks.” It is an 8.8-meter long painting which shows the sublime and unusual landscape. The almost five-minute digital art exhibition brought the painting to life.

A panorama of unusual landscapes through “Pillars of Divinity, Chongseok Rocks”
A panorama of unusual landscapes through “Pillars of Divinity, Chongseok Rocks”/Photo from the Korean Cultural Center of the Philippines

Peonies as esteemed emblems of royalty

“Peonies in Bloom” is based on a two-panel peony painting from the National Museum of Korea. The original artwork used to be installed in a Joseon Dynasty palace. The digital rendition of the painting lets the viewers plunge into a garden of peonies in full bloom. The KCC explained that the almost three-minute digital show embodied the royal family’s splendor. 

Korea cherishes peonies due to its aesthetic beauty and alongside the fact that the flowers symbolize wealth and prosperity. Peonies bloom in red and white in late spring and dubbed as the “king of flowers.” The KCC added that the flowers used to adorn royal ceremony and buildings and served as “esteemed emblems.” 

Witness “Peonies in Bloom” at the “Endless Landscape: A Digitally Reimagined Korean Art Exhibit.”
Witness “Peonies in Bloom” at the “Endless Landscape: A Digitally Reimagined Korean Art Exhibit.” /Photo from the Korean Cultural Center of the Philippines

Introducing Korean culture to Filipinos

The KCC said the National Museum of Korea will continue to organize similar projects and exhibits like this. The initiative will become a part of their Overseas Korean Galleries Support Program, ensuring its preservation and utilization abroad. The organization added that they hope the exhibit will provide an opportunity to further engage with Korean art and culture.

The National Museum of Korea’s director general Yoon Sung Yong said that he hopes the digital exhibition will serve as an opportunity to introduce Korean culture to the Filipino public.

Banner photo from the Korean Cultural Center of the Philippines. 

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