What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘bloom’? Likely, you think of flowers. As we all know, when seeds of flowers are planted and their roots take form, they absorb nutrients from the ground. Stems and leaves grow and then a flower on the plant blooms. This is very similar to life. Are you blooming now?
Beauty in life
According to the online dictionary, beauty means "the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations as shape, color, sound, etc.". Korean people have always sought beauty and emphasized both external and internal beauty. However, people have different standards of beauty depending on personal values. The exhibition <Blooming Land: Blooming Beauty>, makes visitors contemplate true beauty. It offers visitors seven display sections on beauty from more than 10 teams of artists. Visitors view the work of artists from various fields including tattooists, painters, flower creators, and sculptors.
To get to Insadong Kote, the exhibition venue, take Bus 150 or 501 at Sookmyung Women’s University Station and get off at Jongno 2-ga. The ride will take about 15 minutes. From there walk towards Insadong-gil, which will take another six minutes. In total, the trip from Sookmyung Women's University to the exhibition place will be 40 minutes. Upon arriving, head up the staircase. At the top is a book café. Enter the café and go to the information desk. Visitors can book tickets from Internet and can also buy tickets at the spot if visitors didn’t have a reservation. Because of the number of visitors, visitors need to register their visits using a QR code in case there is a cluster of COVID-19 found later at the event. With the mask on and visit registration via a QR code done, visitors may proceed up the stairs to the exhibition.
Your world Blooms
The exhibition <Blooming Land: Blooming Beauty> features seven distinct sections, each hosting artists’ works from various fields to express beauty. It is easy to guess the theme of each section by reading the section names. There is “Blooming on Body”, “Blooming through Light”, “Emerging on Flat Surface”, “Growing through Sculpting”, “Sprouting through Molding”, “Blooming on Five Senses” and “Bursting into Bloom through”. I will present the three most impressive section.
Section 1 presents tattoo works, and it is titled “Blooming on Body”. From displays of tattoos drawn only with lines to full color, visitors will surely toss away any prejudice they may have towards tattoos as they are visual art works. This section is surely to generate various feelings from visitors. Looking at the tattoos displayed on the walls and tattoos on the mannequins, visitors will sense diversity in tattoo designs and learn about the artists who drew them. Looking at a tattoo on an actual body and knowing the inspiration behind the work will give visitors a richer appreciation. Second, Section 5 "Sprouting through Molding" displays visuals of reality during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitors will encounter virtual screening clinics, hand sanitizers, and preventive measures written on the walls while they listen to hip-hop music in the section. You might think the section is too heterogeneous, but after walking around the displays, you will think of it as an experimental combination. The artists seem to be saying that we need to be more self-reliant and creative in how we deal with the new reality of living in a pandemic era. Finally, Section 7 “Bursting into Bloom through” leads visitors into a huge dome. Looking up, visitors will see clothes dangling from the ceiling, and there is a video of a lifeless fish regaining life. The artists make onlookers reflect on the negative effects of fast fashion through clothing waste and think about sustainable beauty. Leaving the exhibition, visitors will come to a gift shop. It is in front of the information desk where visitors first checked-in before entering the exhibition. There are a lot of impressive artist inspired souvenirs available for purchase, but it also allows visitors to once again enjoy the exhibition before leaving. The observation of different standards of beauty at the exhibition will make visitors think about their own beauty standards.
The exhibition presents beauty through the eyes of various artists using five senses. From the work of tattoo artists, much of which cannot be easily seen, to the roads where visitors had to step on the chain and walk while listening to the step sounds, to the work of artists who present the dome of waste products, each section is thought-provoking and awe inspiring. The only regret this SMT reporter will comment on is the error with the video playing and the rooftop is still under repair. These unfortunate problems reduce exhibition appreciation. Not all the sensuous works from the sections or from the exhibition were presented in this article to give you something to expect when you visit. SMT reporter recommends visiting the exhibition and thinking about your own standards of beauty.