K-pop septet BTS launch art initiative


The Korean boy band BTS has launched an international art initiative which will see projects by artists including Antony Gormley, Ann Veronica Janssens and Tomás Saraceno installed across five cities in four continents. The artists' projects will chime with the group's philosophy of 'love and care', tackling issues including environmental responsibility and ways of inhabiting the planet.

BTS, also known as the Bangtan Boys, is a seven-member K-pop band band formed in Seoul in 2013. They have sold sixteen million albums at home and were the second best-selling artist of 2018 worldwide. In 2019, BTS were reportedly responsible for contributing more than $4.65 billion to South Korea's economy (which equates to 0.3 per cent of the country's GDP).

In London, the Serpentine Galleries will present Catharsis, a new work by Jakob Kudsk Steensen; Gropius Bau in Berlin will stage Rituals of Care, a series of performance works by artists including Jelili Atiku, boychild and Bill Fontana; works by Ann Veronica Janssens and Yiyun Kang are to be shown at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), Seoul; and Antony Gormley is creating a new installation for New York’s Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 3.

Perhaps most ambitiously, Tomás Saraceno will present Fly with Aerocene Pacha at Salinas Grandes, in which the artist plans to float over the Argentinian salt lake 'powered only by the sun and the air we breathe, without fossil fuels, solar panels, batteries or helium.'

In a statement, the band said 'We speak different languages and come from multiple cultural backgrounds and have lived through unique life experiences. Contemporary art and music are also two different worlds. This project is especially meaningful to us because it truly represents diversity and creates a collective, positive message for the world that we value. Through this project, we hope to return the great amount of love and support from our fans, ARMY, and all audiences.”

Daehyung Lee, one of the curators behind the collaboration, added, 'The projects and contemporary artists assembled for Connect, BTS offer diverse responses to the world around us. With such powerful message and direction they have taken, BTS has become a global group worth noting among global contemporary artists. BTS’ philosophy in the form of support for diversity, and love and care for the periphery is an important motif of the project. The significance of art, whether it consists of sound, sculpture, photography or another medium, is its innate potential to forge a relationship between artist, viewer, the immediate environment, and the atmosphere which encircles and extends far beyond. This project will encourage appreciation of diversities and establish ground for great new synergies to be born.'

14 January 2020