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A road under Yoojin Shopping Center turns into open art museum

A road under Yoojin Shopping Center turns into open art museum

Posted July. 02, 2020 07:38,   

Updated July. 02, 2020 07:38


The Yoojin Shopping Center has returned to the arms of citizens. The Seoul Metropolitan Government has transformed a 250-meter road alongside a stream under the historic shopping center into a “public art museum” and opened it to public on Wednesday. The name of the road is, “Hongjeyooyeon,” which means the relationship between water and men flows and healed and united by art.

The transformation is one of the public art projects by the Seoul Metropolitan Government that aim to provide citizens with artistic experience. “The purpose (of the project) is to preserve and remember the Yoojin Shopping Center, which is rich with the modern history of Korea, and provide citizens with an artistic space by turning a passage of rainwater into an artistic road,” said Park Jae-eun, a senior official at the Culture Department of the Seoul Metropolitan Government.

It was relatively recent that the trail along the Hongjecheon Stream that runs through the 50-year-old shopping center was restored. The Seodaemun District Office reconstructed the 500-meter road under the shopping center to connect the trail. The Seoul Metropolitan Government chose the place as a subject for its public art project called, “Seoul is an art museum” through public contest. “It was highly regarded as a space that embraces the history of developments and changes in modern Korea,” said an official from the Seoul Metropolitan Government.

All the artworks were installed in six months after the project started in June, last year but the opening was postponed for several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Hongjeyooyeon is attracting attention in the post-COVID-19 era since people can enjoy artworks in an open space,” said Yoo Yeon-sik, head of the culture department at Seoul Metropolitan Government. The Seodaemun District Office is planning to construct a passage connecting the Naebu Expressway with the Hongjeyooyeon to provide convenience to citizens.

The artworks that decorate the Hongjeyooyeon are composed of non-materials, including light, sound, and colors. The original shape of the trail is well preserved since most of the artworks there are not solid objects that occupy space. A total of eight artworks, such as installation art, lighting art, media art, and sound art are displayed along the stream that runs through some 100 concrete pillars. Also displayed are the “message video wall paintings” by 1,000 amateur citizens. “It took much time to select artworks that will be exhibited at this calm and quiet place,” a Seoul city official said.

The Hongjeyooyeon started its lighting ceremony at 2 p.m. on Wednesday and will be open to public every day for 12 hours from 10 a.m.

Ji-Hoon Lee easyhoon@donga.com