Love and movies Mar 15 2013
It’s spring and love is in the air, or so they say. For those in the mood, there could be much worse things to do than visiting the Seoul Museum in Buam-dong for its ''Love Actually’’ exhibition, which opens today and delightfully explores the subject of love through a unique juxtaposition of paintings, installments and movies.

Yi Joo-heon, the director of the museum, said the exhibition was intended to be light-hearted and visitor-friendly. However, the exhibition’s imaginative works confirm that approachability shouldn’t be confused with a lack of intelligence and the museum’s smart use of media equipment and other technologies add to the experience for visitors.

Yi’s basic idea was to pick six curators and have them explore the theme of love in movies and come up with an arrangement of art work to represent that. The curators, each responsible for the exhibition’s six different sub-themes, chose to work their collection around famous quotes from romantic movies, including ''Shall We Love,’’ ''Boy Meets Girl,’’ ''With You Forever,’’ ''Sonata of Allurement,’’ ''Crazy Love Song’’ and ''Love and After.’’

''Instead of researching about artworks and studying their historical and aesthetic significance, we tried to approach the subject of love through our emotions, like watching and feeling a movie,’’ Yi said.

Upon entering the exhibition hall, visitors are greeted with Robert Indiana’s famous ''LOVE’’ sculpture and images of famous kissing scenes from movies.

Yun Sung-ji’s ''The Truth That Seems to be a Lie,’’ is paired with quotes from the 2001 French movie ''Amelie.’’

''So, little Amelie, your bones aren't made of glass. You can take life's knocks. If you let this chance go by, eventually your heart will become as dry and brittle as my skeleton. So go and get him, for Pete’s sake,’’ Raymond tells Amelie in the scene.

The words oddly overlap with Yun’s installment, which can be described as a large green gift box with a ribbon hanging upside down from the inside, instead of covering it at the top, as if it had been knocked in there.

Photographer Koo Seong-yeon's "Candy Series c.03" is, as its name suggests, a series of pictures of colorful candy, paired with the 1971 movie ''Melody,’’ a romantic fantasy told through the viewpoint of children.

Thomas and Vada’s encounter in the 1991 film, ''My Girl,’’ is coupled with another Indiana sculpture, "One through Zero."

The exhibit grows more sensual and erotic when it reaches Shon Jeung-eun’s ''The Easter Boys’’ installment, composed of a red bed and a series of suggestive photos, which are, somewhat predictably, paired with ''Sex and the City.’’ Photographer Chang Ji-a is even bolder in ''Sitting Young Girl,’’ which shows a young woman undressed and sitting in a fishbowl full of eels.

British artist Damien Hirst's "Untitled" is a fitting finale to the exhibit. It looks like a large pink heart-shaped canvas, but when inspected closely, consists of butterflies glued to the canvas, as if they symbolize the vanity of love.

At the end of the exhibit, visitors can take photos with Salvador Dali’s famous “Mae West Lips Sofa.”

The Seoul Museum is also displaying two more love-themed exhibitions. ''Victorian Romance" features some 20 art prints from 19th century Victorian England and the revamped permanent exhibit has Korean top modern artists' works including Lee Jung-seob’s “Bull."

The exhibit runs through June 16. Admission is 10,000 won for all three exhibitions and entrance to Seokpajeong, a Joseon-era pavilion belonged to King Gojong's father Heungseon Daewongun.

For more information, visit www.seoulmuseum.org or call (02) 395-0100.

By Kwon Mee-yoo

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