Every great artist has their own style. Dynamic brush strokes and starry nights make us recall Vincent Van Gogh. Most of us can instantly identify the painter Klimt when we look at women in gold and water lilies by Monet. There is also one other great artist that is easy to recognize. Girls playing the piano, lovers dancing at a ball, a lovely woman adorning herself with ribbons and flowers are among his works. This SMT reporter visited ‘Renoir: Scent of a Woman Exhibition’ to meet the beautiful work by Renoir.
Beauty on Screen
Pierre Auguste Renoir is an impressionist painter born in 1841 in France. At just 13 years old, he started painting as apprentice painter in a pottery factory. He dreamt of becoming a painter after observing the magnificent paintings at the Louvre. Like other artists during that era, Renoir was trained at Atelier of Charles Gleyre and was able to work close with impressionists like Monet and Sisley. Over a period of 60 years, he painted 6,000 pieces. His paintings clearly show his unique style. He used a variety of bright that captured the lively moments of life. Most importantly, his work exemplifies the charm of women’s joy and happiness.
‘Renoir: Scent of a Woman Exhibition’ gives visitors the chance to encounter some of Renior’s masterpieces. The exhibition, however, differs from traditional ones in that it is considered to be medihealing. Medihealing is healing that incurs as a result of the emotion provoked by art. Visitors follow a written guide through the exhibition that gradually approaches true healing. This type of exhibition is also known as a convergence art exhibition. The exhibition makes use of visual media and music and they reinterpret Renoir’s work. The exhibition was being held at BonDavinci Museum Seoul Forest. The best way to get to BonDavinci Museum from Sookmyung Women’s University is to take the subway from Sookmyung Women's University Station, Line 4, and transfer to Line 2 at Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station. Ride Line 2 until Ttukseom Station and exit at gate 7. Once there, use a map application to locate the museum. Follow the route as outlined on the app. It should take less then 20 minutes on foot to the museum.
Romance Between Light and Color
‘Renoir: Scent of a Woman Exhibition’ offers visitors the chance to be guided by a docent, but this service needs pre-reservation. There is also the option of using an audio guide by downloading the Guide On application and paying 3,000 won. To listen to the audio guide, make sure to download the app prior to entering. Visitors are allowed to take photos of the work in the exhibition, but they must turn off the flash on the cameras. After going through the ticket counter, visitors will encounter a pink entrance gate that takes them into the art world of Renoir.
The exhibition is comprised of nine sections including a prologue, six main art sections, a special section, and an epilogue. The prologue is entitled ‘Banquet of Flower’. Before entering, visitors are invited to select aromatic oils that help with relaxation and healing. This activity is well suited to the exhibition and the concept of medihealing. The prologue section briefly introduces the life of Renoir and the purpose of the exhibition. The exhibition’s main Renior display sections start with ‘A Garden in Montmarte’, which displays exquisite paper art that appear to be white lace curtains. The sound of birds’ chirping perfectly harmonizes with the landscape painting by Renoir. Opposite to this section is the ‘Media Gallery’, which is full of portraits. From rough sketches to colorful paintings, the visual images illustrate Renoir’s work process. Moreover, the section explains the figures in the paintings, so this SMT reporter spent some time sitting in this section admiring the moving images. The next big section, ‘Drawing Museum’, is similar to ‘Media Gallery’. Visitors observe the steps Renoir takes to move from a black and white drawing to a completed sketch that rustles with the sound of a pencil. Even in his rough pre-painting drawings, Renoir’s soft touch to present the curves in the human body is beautiful. This feature is even more pronounced in next section, ‘Her Silhouette’. As the title of this section suggests, this section highlights Renoir’s nude form works. The works are projected onto sheer curtains, and the curtains along with the rosy pink light in the room bring a modern and sensual feel to the artwork. Leaving this section, visitors enter ‘Elegant Consolation’. This SMT reporter was instantly overwhelmed by the light and colors. It felt like she was surrounded by elegant art works of Renoir when she stood in the center of the room. People looked at Renoir’s work on big screens in this section. In the final main exhibition section, ‘Atelier of Renoir’, visitors become part of the exhibition by taking photos at photo sets inspired by Renoir. The last section at the exhibition, the epilogue ‘His Scent’, provides visitors with the same aromatic scents they selected prior to entering the main sections of the exhibition. The final room is decorated with lavender-colored flowers that coordinate with the scents.
The exhibition is quite different from traditional ones, where visitors only experience artwork visually. Visitors will discover hidden quotes by Renoir, listen to background music in every section, and watch moves presented through media art. Also, visitors may take photos all throughout the exhibition, so it offers visitors a great chance to create memories. This reporter recommends going with friends and enjoying taking photos. Also, there is a souvenir shop located just beside the exit of the exhibition, and it is full of colorful goods featuring the art displayed at the exhibition.
“A painting is precious, joyful and beautiful. It is more than a beauty.” These words of Renoir sum up the reporter’s impression of the exhibition. Although the exhibition differs greatly from traditional exhibitions, the experience is joyful and vivid. Visitors will learn how active a painting can be, from traditional canvas to being on screen, to placement on the floor, and to projection onto curtains. Renoir would be pleased to see the happy faces of audiences coming to see his work.