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Gallery: Yang Mi-young’s Royal Wedding Procession, at the KCC’s Royal Palaces exhibition

Yang Mi-young: Banchado
Yang Mi-young: Banchado – installation view at the KCCUK, 20 July 2021

The KCCUK’s current Royal Palaces of Joseon exhibition contains three main elements: a large three-channel video work by Park Jong-woo focusing on the Jongmyo Shrine, installed in what was once the theatre area on the main floor; and some impressive still and video photographs of the main palaces by Seo Heun-kang. There’s a nice video of the exhibition that you can find on the KCCUK’s Facebook page here.

The third element in the exhibition is the installation that greets you as you enter. Hanji artist Yang Mi-young has spent more than four years painstakingly reconstructing from historical records the huge procession that took place in 1759 when the 66-year-old King Yeongjo married his second wife, Queen Jeongsun – who was 15 years old at the time. The wedding took place three years after the death of Yeongjo’s first Queen, Jeongseong.

The procession was documented in a volume of the Uigwe – the royal protocols of the Joseon Dynasty. The volume includes a Banchado (processional painting) showing 1,299 people in the procession and 379 horses, each one of which has been modelled here individually in hanji papier mache. Each character seems to have its own particular facial expression. There’s not enough room in the KCC’s exhibition space to accommodate all the models, and with what is on show the characters are placed so close together that you can imagine that if one attendant stumbled the whole procession would topple over like dominoes. You can enjoy looking at the models for hours, as the music from the Jongmyo shrine washes over the partition from the exhibition space behind.

The exhibition lasts until 21 August. Do pay it a visit.

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