Deoksugung Palace was the stage for major events during the political chaos towards the end of Emperor Gojong’s reign, and is a historical site for heartbreaking historical events and memoires. Deoksugung’s unique locality brings together the past and the present, and the east and the wets; unlike other palaces that are located at the foot of mountains, Deoksugung is located in the city center amidst skyscrapers, and traditional wooed buildings and western stone buildings coexist inside. Eight-fold Folding Screen of Royal Banquet in the Imin Year during Emperor Gojong’s Reign depicts the scenes form the last palatial feast of the Joseon dynasty in 1902 that celebrated the 51st birthday (mangyooksoon) and the 40th anniversary of the accession of Emperor Gojong (Daehan). This yeonhyang (royal banquet) during the time when the future of the country was uncertain would have evoked grief and disheartenment rather than jubilation. Daehan Yeonhyang by OBBA (Lee Sojung, Kwak Sangjoon) elevates the grief suffused in the memory of this yeonhyang into an elation. Daehan Yeonhyang, a medium for yet another collision, hopes to bring healing through joy to the last yeonhyang that is sure to have been weighed with sadness. Daehan Yeonhyang is a series of installation of dichroic films hanging from metal structures in the form reminiscent of Korean traditional sun shades, such as maninsan. It is positioned on the pavement stones of the front yard of Junghwajeon Hall, a symbolic space used for important national ceremonies in the past. Dichroic film is a material that has mirror-effect and transparency at the same time, reflecting light and projecting rainbow colors on the pavement stones. Hanging from the metal structures, the films play with wind to scatter light and cast ornate shadows that resemble a dance. Each moment creates the scenery anew through the endless turns of reflection and projection from the collision of light and wind. The visitors are in this way propelled to constantly look around the ever-changing surroundings, and in turn reflect on the historical meaning of site.
* Daehan : the Korean Empire * Yeonhyang : royal banquet