Cho Duck-hyun, Dream

Art
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Cho Duck-hyun, Dream
courtesy of the artist and Ilmin Museum of Art
The museum’s frst foor exhibition hall looks like a folk museum. There’s a timeline on the deceased movie star, Cho Duck-hyun, written on the wall, and underneath the text is a glass case with black-and-white photographs of him on display. The humble, Korean home around the corner and being able to peak into his empty room makes it seem as if the exhibit is embodying the Seoul of yesteryear. However, it’s actually dedicated to Cho Duck-hyun’s life and flmography and it’s not a coincidence that the star of the exhibition shares the same name as the exhibition’s artist. Last year, artist Cho searched for his name on Naver and discovered that he’d lost his spot on the top to an existing movie star with the same name. And it wasn’t just one Cho Duck-hyun that he found, but several, including a soldier, journalist and a banker. Among them, he discovered another by movie star and was instantly captivated his short-lived fame as on the screen. In turn, Cho Duck-hyun(1914–1995) became the inspiration for “Dream,” as well as the protagonist of a short story written specially for the exhibition by novelist Kim Ki-chang. The exhibition “Dream” depicts Cho Duck-hyun as a passionate and successful man who follows his dreams to act on the big screen to his work in Shanghai. In the different drawings Cho is depicted as starring in the 1962 flm Kid Galahad in the place of Humphrey Bogart and in the epic flm, Casablanca. At least, that’s how the artist has chosen to glorify Cho Duck-hyun, through enlarged pencil drawings done on hanji paper. Portrayed in actual movie stills, the real-life actor Cho Duck-Hyun is recreated as Humphrey Bogart and Frank “Buster” Keaton. So “Dream” is not a factual portrayal of Cho Duck-hyun but is the artist’s musings on Cho’s Hollywood dream. In short, the Cho Duck-hyun of “Dream” is a fctional character. He takes on the persona and life of two Cho Duck-hyuns (one dead, and one existing) plus the artist’s imagination, so it’s all very confusing. The exhibition continues up to the second foor, where you’ll fnd an extensive portfolio of his most representative works. On the third foor are large, translucent screens marked by shadows of trees, plants and thumb-sized people, and the orchestral pieces by Yoon Yi-sang that play heighten the eerie mood. Decoding the myth of Cho Duck-hyun is quite baffing, so it’s best to stick to the frst foor, as the top foors have nothing to do with his story, and you can always return for round two on a weekend. You need at least a full day to try and fgure out who the hell Cho Duck-hyun was, and appreciate his 
story.

By: Michelle JY Park

Event phone: 02-2020-2050
Event website: http://www.ilmin.org