BTS unveil global modern art initiative

Danish artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen (right) sits in front of a monitor live-streaming South Korean boy band BTS during the announcement of his new work, Catharsis, at the launch of the global public art project Connect, BTS in London on Tuesday.
Danish artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen (right) sits in front of a monitor live-streaming South Korean boy band BTS during the announcement of his new work, Catharsis, at the launch of the global public art project Connect, BTS in London on Tuesday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON• South Korean pop superstars BTS helped launch a global public art project in London on Tuesday, inspired by their message of inclusivity and involving renowned artists including Antony Gormley and Tomas Saraceno.

The K-pop septet have teamed up with an array of artistic talent from around the world to help forge a series of contemporary exhibits going on display in five cities across four continents.

The project - Connect, BTS - uses the boy band's support for "diversity, love and care for the periphery" as the starting point for the series of disparate multi-disciplinary artworks.

They will be complemented by video messages introducing the pieces recorded by BTS.

"We have always been inspired by the ability of music to communicate across borders and barriers, which is not very different from what art does," said band member Suga, as they joined in via live video-link from Seoul.

BTS, the first K-pop group to top charts in the United States and Britain, have seen their global profile surge in recent years.

The musicians, all in their 20s and often sporting earrings and lipstick, have built a predominantly youthful fan base on a message of self-acceptance and tolerance.

The curators of Connect, BTS hope to tap their huge online profile and tens of millions of followers on social media sites like Instagram and Twitter.

"This project will encourage appreciation of diversities and establish ground for great new synergies to be born," said its art director Lee Dae-hyung.

 
 
 

The various artworks will go on show in the Korean and British capitals, as well as in Berlin, Buenos Aires and New York. The London offering, Catharsis, by Danish artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen, features an audio-visual simulation of a re-imagined old-growth forest portrayed in a single continuous camera shot.

It can be seen at the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park until March 15.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 16, 2020, with the headline 'BTS unveil global modern art initiative'. Print Edition | Subscribe