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Dutch artist's 'Sweet Swan' floats on Seokchon Lake

Posted April. 07, 2017 07:17,   

Updated April. 07, 2017 07:24

The swan family “Sweet Swan” has appeared on the water surface of Seokchon Lake, located in Songpa-gu, Seoul, where the former gigantic “Rubber Duck” floated in 2014. The two art pieces are both the creations of Dutch installation artist Florentijn Hofman. Made with polyester, the family consists of mum and dad which are 14-16 meters high, and five baby swans, which are 3.5-5 meters high.

During a press conference held at Lotte World Tower near the lake on Thursday, Hofman said, “I wanted to convey the meaning of ‘Spring’ in the piece, as new life is created in spring and we look forward for the future.”

When faced each other, the swans create a shape of a heart. “Since swans have long necks, I had trouble sculpturing them. While expressing the neck of a swan by factoring in the air pressure, the swans turned out to greet each other and show heart shapes,” said Hofman. In other words, the artist somehow ended up expressing mutual love and respect.

The five baby swans show different colors both around the body and beak. “While they may appear to be similar, every baby swan has its own precious and special meanings,” explained the artist. On why he chose swan as his subject, Hofman said that he wanted to show the beauty gained as humans mature throughout their lives, just as the unattractive little duck transformed into a beautiful swan in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale "The Ugly Duckling"

“Koreans are living under a lot of pressure, and are politically divided in geographical terms," Hofman added. "My latest art piece conveys the message with hopes that love sprouts more actively and create more babies.”

Both his pieces – the Rubber Duck and Sweet Swan – were installed in line with the opening of Lotte World Mall in 2014 and the Lotte World Tower, respectively. On comments whether his pieces are focused on commercial values, Hofman answered that “in terms of commercial issues, I do not take a negative view, as selling an art piece will also give memories on the artwork.” The Sweet Swan family will float on Seokchon River until May 8.

Jee-Young Kim kimjy@donga.com