CONNECT, BTS: mega K-pop group ventures into visual arts

CONNECT, BTS: mega K-pop group ventures into visual arts
BTS, the K-pop group who have begun CONNECT, BTS, an international arts initiative. Courtesy Flickr, Commons.
Must see  -   Exhibitions

When BTS performed in New York City’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve a few weeks ago, I had to explain to my mom who they were and what K-pop was. You’ve undoubtedly had a similar conversation with one of your parents before, but I digress. BTS, a seven-member K-pop group that formed about six years ago, is among the most well-known groups in the world. Now, they’re expanding their portfolio, so to speak, to include visual art.

Called CONNECT, BTS, the group’s initiative will reach five different countries with installations and exhibitions in New York, London, Seoul (the group’s hometown), Buenos Aires, and Berlin. Curated by Daehyung Lee, a Korean curator, each work in the series relies on interaction with its viewers. To make the works more accessible, they will all be free to the public.

Just yesterday, Catharsis by Jakob Kudsk was the first portion of CONNECT, BTS to debut. The audio-visual artwork can be viewed by anyone with access to a computer, no matter where they are in the world, through a specific website. The work takes viewers on a virtual trip through an old growth forest. Then, in a few weeks, a major outdoor installation accompanying the visual work will be open to see on the grounds of the Serpentine Gallery in London.

In Berlin, 17 performance works by various international artists will begin their programmes today. With works by Jelili Atiku, Bill Fontana, Maria Hassabi, and Cevdet Erek, performances will run through February 2nd at the Martin-Gropius-Bau. Fly with Aerocene Pacha, to be presented in Buenos Aires starting January 28th, is the work of Tomás Saraceno. It will feature Saraceno’s work and its pilot(s) who will embark on an entirely of a solar-powered flight that operates only on the air and sun.

BTS’s signature dance moves are reimagined in Yiyun Kang’s Beyond the Scene, which projects the group’s moves onto the wall at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, designed by Zaha Hadid, in Seoul. Also, on display there will be Ann Veronica Janssens’ Green, Yellow, Pink, a sensory installation. Finally, there is Antony Gormley’s New York Clearing, which will grace Pier 3 at Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City, from February 4th. The installation will encourage visitors walk amongst its 11 miles of aluminium tubing spiraled in on itself in a dizzying series of circles.

‘What was meaningful for us is how these artwork are completed through the experience of the people who see them,’ said BTS-member Jeon Jung-kook to the BBC. ‘We also feel our performances are made complete with our fans. So we found a common ground between what we do with the music and with the art.’

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