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Winnie the Pooh exhibition opens in Seoul

Posted September. 03, 2019 07:25,   

Updated September. 03, 2019 07:25


The original drawings of the Winnie the Pooh, which gained an immense popularity last year, have finally landed in South Korea. The exhibition “Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a Classic,” which opened on August 22, is visiting South Korea as the final destination after being originally launched in 2017 under the direction of Britain’s Victoria and Albert Museum and finished touring the United States and Japan. About 230 pieces to be showcased at the exhibition include E. H. Shepard’s illustrations, original author A. A. Milne’s scripts and letters, their family photos as well as the copies of the first edition. Once the exhibition is over, the pieces including the original paintings will be kept at the Victoria and Albert Museum for more than 10 years. The storage aims to prevent further damage of the drawings, which have been exposed to light during exhibitions.

Befitting the character’s popularity with kids, the exhibition features an interior design that allows visitors to run around and have fun. Stairs have been set up at the entrance, which leads to the room of Christopher Robin. On the side wall of the stairs are written the phrase “Halfway down the stairs is a stair where I sit…I'm not at the bottom, I'm not at the top” from the famous poem by A. A. Milne “Halfway Down.” Past the staircase are sitting a set of archives including the Winnie the Pooh doll manufactured at Teddy Toy Company in 1930.

The original size of the exhibition, which was designed by Tom Piper and RFK Architects as a collaboration, has been scaled down to be accommodated in the Korean Soma Museum. Smaller original drawings are the main focus of showcasing. Compared to London’s, the exhibition in Seoul is smaller in scale and the use of lightings will be weaker. Instead, the Korean exhibition features structures such as Eeyore’s house and slides where children can play hide-and-seek.

The exhibition is divided in five sections. The first section “Popular Bear” will feature the most familiar aspects about the character. The following sections “After We’ve Been Introduced” and “What Is the Story About?” are made of a series of installments describing the process of the Winnie the Pooh’s creation. The last two sections of “Art of Description” and “Pooh Out in the World” will elaborate the traits of the original drawings and the process of publication.

The characters in the show boast diverse personalities. The timid and cowardly Piglet, moody and pessimistic Eeyore, confident yet clumsy Tiger, and the busybody Rabbit are all metaphors of the real world. The exhibition is scheduled to run until January 5, 2020.

Min Kim kimmin@donga.com