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2017-11 13

[Special]Stepping into the Life of Claude Monet

With the daunting winter cold approaching a step closer, the weather for leisurely activities are now limited to days. If you are wondering what do with the few remaining days of reasonable weather, a good recommendation is a visit to the “Monet/ Drawing Light” exhibition at BonDavinci Museum. For those who have always wanted a “piece” of culture, but have not had the time or opportunity to pursue that interest, this is the perfect weather and timing to visit an art exhibit and learn about one of the most renowned artist of the Impressionist Era, Claude Monet. Introduction to Monet A photo of Oscar-Claude Monet (Photo courtesy of Imgur) Oscar-Claude Monet was born in France, into a family of second-generation Parisians. Despite his father’s desire for him to enter the family business, Monet was able to take his first step towards art with the support of his mother, who was a singer. However, there were severe obstacles in his pursuit, such as the death of his mother at the age of sixteen, and being drafted to the French-Algerian War. Although Monet’s father could have purchased his exemption from the draft, Monet’s refusal to quit painting led to his father’s inaction. Fortunately, he was able to leave the army in the middle of his service to enroll in an art school, where he met Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Frédéric Bazille and Alfred Sisley. The new approaches to art that they came up with, painting the effects of light on the landscape with broken color and quick brushstrokes, are now called Impressionism. One of Monet’s most famous work, Impression, Sunrise (Photo courtesy of WikiArt) The term “Impressionism” is originated from the title of Monet’s painting, Impression, Sunrise. The philosophy of this movement is defined as the expression of one’s perception of nature, characterized by a keen observation of light and unique brushstrokes. In practice, Monet had painted same scenes multiple times at an attempt to capture the changing of light and the passing of seasons. Monet/ Drawing Light: Part 2 Monet’s impressionism exhibit is an extension of the first exhibition. Supported by a wide range of popularity, the original “Monet/ Drawing Light” exhibition was re-opened in July with additional features. The key behind its’ popularity was the use of light; all of the artworks displayed in the exhibition are in the form of projected light, and who else would be more fitting for this manner of display than Monet? The painting style of the Impressionist maestro is directly related to capturing the change in light. By introducing the element of light and motion to the original paintings, this exhibition serves as an exemplary case of outstanding visualization. This unorthodox means of display is merely a stepping stone for the exhibit’s underlying goal to capture the essence of Monet’s art and life. Combined with delicate designs of interior structure, the beams allow the audience to literally step into a scene of Monet’s life and be consumed into the moment. Such reconstruction of two-dimensional art into three-dimensional spaces creates a mesmerizing mood throughout the duration of the exhibit A display of a scene in Monet’s life The display is divided into several chapters, each representing a crucial part of Monet’s life. Beginning with the invitation chapter that introduces the overall life story of Claude Monet, there is the “Giverny Pond: Flower Garden”, “Musee De Lorangerie: Water Lily”, “Painter: Garden of Fantasy”, and a chapter dedicated to Camille, the muse and love of his life. Each chapter is designed in a way that best captures the meaning that each place, scenery, and person has on Monet’s life. Aside from these chapters, there are collages of Monet’s art pieces in various captivating forms. Giverny Pond: Flower Garden Furthermore, there are a good number of photo booths between each displays. While some people find them as distractions from their exhibiting experience, the general opinions on the audience review page were praising it as an entertaining feature. However, the photo booths were generally well coordinated with the displays, and were more of an interactive platform as a part of the audience experience. At the end of the exhibit, there is a goods shop with art-related merchandises such as jigsaw puzzles, notebooks, post cards, and T-shirts. The goods were not limited to Monet, and also portrayed artworks of Vincent Van Gogh, Edvard Munch, Gustav Klimpt, and much more. A photo booth under the theme "Monet's dining room" Room for improvement Despite the admirable achievements of the exhibition designers and producers, a significant shortage of the exhibition comes from its’ management. To be blunt, there are a lot of children at the exhibit, and not enough supervision over them. It is an issue frequently raised by the visitors in the review section, and witnessed first-hand during the preparation of this article. Many parents opt to bring their children to enjoy the exhibition, as the interactive installations provide an exciting yet educational experience. The vicinity to the Children’s Grand Park also plays a big role in the large number of child visitors. It is agreeable that the exhibition is a great way to introduce toddlers to classical art in an entertaining fashion. However, this is done at the cost of other visitors’ satisfaction. Children’s screams were constantly heard throughout the exhibit, as well as banging of toys, running, and a child was even picking flowers from display installations. It was no wonder that a large number of reviewer comments were recommendations of the day and time for avoiding children. In addition to parent negligence, there were no staffs located in the exhibition to maintain order. As such, some steps are deemed necessary for the management to take in order to deal with this problem. Aside from the positioning of staff members, the directors could schedule particular days or hours when toddlers are not allowed to enter. Lee Chang-hyun Photos by Lee Chang-hyun

2017-10 13

[Special]A Growing Need to Address the LGBT Society

Last month, a public letter was published on the Korean edition of Christian Today towards the celebrity Hong Seok-cheon, in the form of an editorial. Written by Joseph Joo, a pastor and an anti-homosexual activist, the letter expressed his concerns for Hong’s potential candidacy in the election for the district office of Yong-san gu. As the first Korean celebrity to come out as a homosexual, Hong is the most prominent gay celebrity in Korea, having overcome the sexually conservative tone of Korean society. Convinced that Hong’s acclaimed desire to tackle the problems of Yongsan-gu is a cover for his pursuit to secure gay rights, Joo wrote his letter to dissuade Hong from running for office. Yongsan-gu itself holds a symbolic meaning because of its ethnic and sexual diversity, largely due to the Itaewon area. In his letter, Joo insisted in a gentle yet adamant tone that Hong drop his pursuit for office and seek repentance. This incident drew large public attention, shedding light once again on the issue of sexual minorities in South Korea. The first Korean celebrity to come out as a homosexual (Photo courtesy of Money S News) Sexual minorities and political refugees On the issues of LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and, transsexuals), Korea lacks significant political dialogue. Rather than having positive or negative addressment on the various policies and issues concerning sexual minorities, there is not much spotlight shone at all. This neglect is gradually becoming a problem that even the international community is raising criticism. A critical area for the issue of sexual minorities in Korea is the military. According to article 92, clause 6 of the Korean military law, the court prohibits any military personnel from being involved in sodomy or related indecencies. This law is otherwise known as the “Anti-homosexual law”, which condemns homosexuals in the military. Considering that Korean men are mandatorily drafted to the army, this law, which has been in question of constitutional validity for nearly 20 years, provides a significant dilemma for homosexual men. There are two main options: either keeping homosexuality a secret for the duration of their military service, or to resist the draft for conscientious objection, which would lead to 2 years of incarceration. This dilemma eventually led some Korean men to seek for a political refuge. Countries such as France, Canada, and Australia have accepted Korean men as political refugees. The acceptance of these refugees itself is a significant international recognition of social incapability to address the issues of sexual diversity. In an article regarding this issue, the International Financial Times criticized that Korea is an “essentially conservative country that lags behind on social issues despite its rapid technological and economic development.” The Financial Times published an article this April on the military “scan” of gay personnel. (Photo courtesy of the Financial Times) Growing needs for addressment There are also severe problems in the education sector. Student education on sexual diversity is critical to prepare for the inevitable addressment of policies regarding sexual minorities in the future. As a result of exposure to western culture as well as books and films about sexual diversity, the number of Korean people coming out as LGBT is growing. The gay parade had taken root in Korea in recent years, and the rise of various LGBT interest groups indicates that this inevitable future will approach soon. However, the Ministry of Education fails to address the issue of sexual minorities and excludes the issue in public sexual education. In fact, the ministry canceled a specific training education for sexual education teachers last year on the basis that it had not been correspondent to the National level of school Sexual Education Standards. The underlying reason was that it included a section on sexual identity and the understanding of LGBTs. The National level of school Sexual Education Standards, introduced in 2015 by the Ministry of Education, has been under public criticism for its failure to provide proper education. Much of the guidance provided is impractical and is based on outdated notions of gender. In a more specific case, there is the Teenage 1388 Call Center. Operated by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family in cooperation with the Korea Youth Counseling & Welfare Institute, the Teenage 1388 Call Center was established to provide anonymous counseling to various problems for teenagers. The problem was that the counselors of the center have advised students that homosexuality was something to be “treated”, and that it was “wise to avoid having convictions of homosexuality until becoming an adult.” It was revealed that the education courses for the counselors did not have appropriate content on sexual minorities. Even in universities, hate groups against the LGBT community are growing in numbers. In 2016, a professor of a Korean university was publically criticized for damaging a banner installed by the university’s queer community. Furthermore, many universities considered “prestigious” have hate groups and SNS accounts dedicated to shaming sexual minorities. Despite problems across a variety of sectors, the issue of sexual minorities receives very little spotlight with insufficient political debates and representation. Even in presidential pledges and debates, these issues traditionally received little attention. Only with continued efforts of the LGBT community has the issue been introduced in this year’s presidential election debates, and even then, there was only one candidate who pledged a policy in favor of them. Although most candidates emphasized their commitment to gender equality, most of them openly expressed that they were against homosexuality. Although the means and results of political debates remain unclear, what is apparent is that the need to address this issue is growing, and will continue to grow. Lee Chang-hyun