The Korea Herald


[Well-curated] More than a library, street dance fests and glimpse of Venice Biennale

By Kim Da-sol, Hwang Dong-hee, Park Yuna

Published : April 26, 2024 - 09:00

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Sohn Kee-chung Culture Library (Kim Da-sol/The Korea Herald) Sohn Kee-chung Culture Library (Kim Da-sol/The Korea Herald)

More than a library

Throw yourself into the endless rows of bookshelves filled with various kinds of books.

Located in Jung-gu, Seoul, near major transportation hub Seoul Station, Sohn Kee-chung Culture Library is a calm, peaceful library surrounded by a beautifully landscaped park and a walking track. In fact, you might even skip the library and just go for a leisurely stroll there.

The library reopened in 2021 after an extensive renovation. The library, now spanning over 771 square meters, has become a multifunctional space for culture and art, rebranding itself from being a mere neighborhood library.

The curved bookshelves are conducive to communication and the lounge-like atmosphere makes you want to sit down with a book. The wide staircase where people can sit and fountain outside are indeed picture-worthy.

The library is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday. It is closed on public holidays.

The 2023 Red Road Street Dance Festival (Mapo-gu Office) The 2023 Red Road Street Dance Festival (Mapo-gu Office)

Ready to groove? Head to street dance fests

This weekend, two street dance festivals will be held in Seoul, offering a dynamic showcase of urban dance culture.

The third edition of the Naru Street Dance Festival will take place on the outdoor stage of the Naru Arts Center, in Gwangjin-gu, offering a total of 14 million won ($10,172) in various prizes for the battle competitions.

On Saturday, the event will feature a 2-on-2 breaking battle, followed by a 2-on-2 open-style battle on Sunday. Qualifiers will kick off at 2 p.m., with the main competitions starting at 5 p.m., each day. Dancers from leading Korean street dance crews including Gamblerz Crew and Jinjo Crew will serve as judges.

On the western side of Seoul, in the Hongdae area, the Red Road Street Dance Festival will be held from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The festival will feature participants from various street dance genres such as popping, b-boying, hip-hop, locking and krumping. Six teams, selected through video auditions, will compete against each other to determine the champions.

The official opening ceremony will kick off at 6 p.m. at the Red Road R6 stage, with special guest performances by Jinjo Crew, Kim Wan-sun, Hyolyn and others.

There will also be busking performances, a flea market and various other entertainment options.

Both events are open to all ages and require no tickets.

An installation view of An installation view of "Beauty is a Ready-made" at Atelier Hermes in Seoul (Atelier Hermes)

Glimpse of Venice Biennale at Atelier Hermes

Italian British artist duo Claire Fontaine’s exhibition at Atelier Hermes in southern Seoul, “Beauty is a Ready-made,” offers a glimpse of the artist collective's exhibition at the Venice Biennale.

A total of 10 works by the artist duo -- Fulvia Carnevale and James Thornhill – are presented in the exhibition here, including neon sculptures from their "Foreigners Everywhere" series, the title of which inspired the theme of the 60th Venice Biennale, which opened on April 20.

Upon entering the exhibition hall, you will find lemons scattered around the floor, getting in the way of walking around the hall. The feeling of a nuisance that you might feel as you trip over a lemon or walk around it is the feeling that some people harbor toward foreign nationals, which is captured in the work, "Migrants," reflecting the cultural and economic situation in southern Europe as well as globally.

Claire Fontaine's name pays homage to Marcel Duchamp's “Fountain,” an influence that is reflected in the title of the collective’s exhibition, "Beauty is a Ready-made.” The exhibition runs through June 9.