Saturday, January 26, 2013

My body (is) your body.

Anish Kapoor's sculpture garden at the Leeum Museum

My dear friend Hopkins' introduced me to Kapoor a few years ago. So, when I noticed he had an exhibition in Seoul, and that it finished this weekend. I figured I should go and check it out... 
To Reflect an Intimate Part of the Red

When Sirena and I, first entered the exhibition hall we likened it to being in space. The pieces initially had quite and unearthly extraterrestrial feel. 
Next, we noticed that people were queuing to see this one particular piece 'untitled'. As I read the description to Sirena, "It's concave, dome-like structure is a potent metaphor: as a space of creation and birth, it suggests both the female womb and the curvature of maternal breasts in negative. The surface is covered with a dark blue powdered pigment that absorbs light, creating a deep blue abyss whose depth is impossible to gauge. As the sculptural recess expands visually, transcending the limitations of the space's physical depth and giving the illusion of infinite space, the viewer experiences a profound sense of awe in the face of the sublime". She decided that we simply had to queue to see what all the fuss was about. When we approached the sculptures, I could see how it was difficult to judge the depth. It looked like the surface was in front of us and coming towards us at the same time, I swished my hands around trying to make sense of this optical illusion. Sirena was playfully trying to get me to experiment with the acoustics of this piece as well, but the Koreans were pretty quiet, and serious. So, I was hesitant to start shouting 'hello' and childishly checking out the sounds. I decided that I didn't really like this piece, it made me feel a little motion sick, again. Consequently, I didn't take a picture.
Laboratory for a New Model of the Universe
 Shortly afterwards we wandered into a theatre area which was showing the 'A year with Anish Kapoor' BBC documentary that I'd already seen. We watched the last quarter, before it looped round to the beginning  'Shall we go and look at the rest of the exhibit?' Sirena asked. 
 'I'm actually enjoying listening to the British accents, and seeing bits of England'. I replied sheepishly and laughed. I proceeded to explain that I've never felt particularly strongly patriotic, then I told her about another silly emotional experience, which she laughed at (I might share the details in another post). Sirena empathised, and told me that during her time visiting various countries  she's similarly found herself becoming increasingly defensive, and proud of her home. 
My Red Homeland
We didn't watch it all, we watched the introductory quarter to where Alan Yentob states that when thinking about Kapoor's work many different words come to mind, such as beguiling, puzzling, arresting, and blatantly sexual. 'Blatantly sexual' was of course the one that stayed with us, and we parroted amusedly as we proceeded around the rest of the exhibit. 'Blatantly sexual?'

My Body Your Body
Memories of the future
Finally, we visited the Sculpture garden, where I immediately noticed the building in the background had a sign with 'memories of the future'.
'That's the name of my blog!', I exclaimed.
Sirena, was like, 'ha, really?!'
Yeah I replied, 'it's the name of a song I like'.
One of those strangely, coincidental, funny moments that was pretty in keeping with most of the day.
We had a little fun with the mirror distortions, but as usual it was too cold to be outside for too long.  
Tall Tree and the Eye
 After the exhibit, we wandered into Noksapyeong in search of a makgeolli (makkoli) bar that Sirena had read about called 'Damatori'. Makkoli is Korean Rice wine, and this particular bar serves samples of various different rice wines from all over South Korea. Thankfully, we didn't have too much trouble finding the place.

 We arrived early, which meant initially we got some quite informed service. They served us with 5 different samples at a time, in little pottery cup bowls. 
 We tried as many as possible which meant five different lots of samplers. We drank King Sejong's favourite makkoli, makkoli from various different regions, organic makkoli, makkoli made with sweetcorn, makkoli made with honey, and makkoli made with tomatoes. The food was quite delicious, and the company entertaining. We discussed Korea, teaching, travelling, relationships, stalkers, siblings, art, the future, our love for drinking, sharks, and other various watery related topics.
Visiting Damatori had been on Sirena's Korean Bucket list. All in all a pretty fun, and culturally productive day.  

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