Global CONNECT, BTS art project launched at Serpentine

Serpentine Press Launch
L to R: artist Thomas Saraceno, artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen, Gropius Bau director Stephanie Rosenthal, curator Lee Dae-hyung, Serpentine director Hans-Ulich Obrist, artist Antony Gormley, Serpentine CTO Ben Vickers and artist Yiyun Kang. And BTS attending via live stream. Image: Korea JoongAng Daily / Moon So-young

London’s Serpentine Gallery was chosen as the venue for today’s launch of a new international art project in collaboration with BTS. The band attended the event via a live stream. According to the Korea JoongAng Daily,

the art project titled “CONNECT, BTS” is a series of exhibitions in five cities on four continents that is free to the public. It is not a project in which BTS creates visual art works or where artists present works inspired by BTS. Instead, “this project is a series of exhibitions created by artists and curators who share BTS’ philosophy in the form of support for diversity and love and care for the periphery” Lee Dae-hyung, who developed the art project and is working as one of the co-curators, said.

Lee expanded on the connection between BTS and the art world along the following lines: BTS’s

ability to speak meaningfully to people of different cultural backgrounds, social classes, ethnicities, genders and identities speaks in turn to modern art’s long-standing goal to transcend imagined boundaries.

According to The Times, the band is providing the funding for the project,

which will include Sir Antony Gormley winding 11 miles of aluminium tubing around New York and an Argentinian artist attempting to float in the sky powered only by the sun and air.

As part of the project, London-based Korean artist Yiyun Kang will participate at Seoul’s Dongdaemun Design Plaza, with an installation entitled

“Beyond the Scene,” a digital environment on a large scale, a reimagining of BTS’s signature dance movements as seen through the techniques of projection mapping.

Kang is no stranger to working at the DDP: two years ago she executed a big projection mapping project for Italian fashion house Max Mara.

Jakob Kudsk Steensen: Catharsis (2019-20)
Still from Jakob Kudsk Steensen’s Catharsis (2019-20). Courtesy the Gallery and Artist

The Serpentine’s participation launched today with the unveiling of Jakob Kudsk Steensen’s Catharsis which

immerses audiences within a digital simulation of a re-imagined old-growth forest, a forest that has developed undisturbed over hundreds of years.

ARMY member Kelly immediately posited a connection between the work chosen to launch the project at the Serpentine and the Rhizomatic Revolution Review, an international / interdisciplinary project to study all things BTS that was promoted at the BTS conference at Kingston earlier this month (report coming soon):

Coincidence? Trees are able to communicate with one another, sharing messages about nutrients and intruders. They do this through a rhizomatic system of fungi. Hmm. And @BTS_twt started this project in a virtual forest.

I’m sure we can expect more analysis of how the different instances of the global art project connect with each other and with BTS over the coming weeks. Meanwhile, you can experience Catharsis online courtesy of the Serpentine at catharsis.live or www.twitch.tv/serpentineuk. It is on show at the Serpentine until March 15.

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