When people think of the center of European culture, Paris is often the first city that to comes to mind. France began to show an interest in Korean culture in the early 2000s. In the 2010s, public interest increased dramatically as Hallyu (Korean Wave) media such as K-pop and Korean television grew popular among French youths. Today, a large number of young men and women in France have access to Korean culture through TV, music, and cosmetics, and even enjoy learning the Korean language.
Since its establishment in 1980, the Korean Cultural Center in Paris, the first institute of its kind in Europe, has played a leading role in spreading Hallyu throughout the continent. In late November of last year, the center celebrated its 40th anniversary with a ceremony at its new location and a special exhibition introducing Korean colors. Tekkal, Couleurs de Corée (Tekkal, Colors of Korea) opened on November 20 and will continue through February 14, co-hosted by the center and the National Folk Museum of Korea. The exhibition was previously held at the folk museum in 2016; the Paris event is the first leg of an international tour.
The exhibition provides an opportunity to reaffirm the value of colors by enabling viewers to compare the concepts and perceptions of the colors of the Korean people in the past and the present. On display are works by contemporary artists that reflect the obangsaek, the five traditional colors of Korea (white, black, yellow, blue, and red), as well as traditional costumes and items that feature these colors. This includes a dalhangari, or moon-shaped jar; Sugyedogwon, a book of poetry and drawings depicting the people of Korea’s Joseon era; jeokchoui, ceremonial clothes worn by Joseon government officials; and obangjang durumagi, a traditional coat of five colors worn by children in the late Joseon era.
The exhibition is equipped with interactive media walls and special tables to help visitors fully experience the various colors of Korean artifacts.
This timely event will build on mounting French interest in Korea and help to promote awareness of the diversity of Korean arts, all while expanding bilateral cultural exchange and allowing for Korean art and culture to further bloom.
Written by Kim shinyoung