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Chapter 71 Part 1 - The Mysterious Art Museum

A street artist's life changed when he ended up at a mysterious art museum. DBT,Korean,Novel,Translation,Art,Artist,Slice of life,Poor to Rich,Mystery

1/2 Bonus chapter thanks to @SomeoneRandom from Ko-fi

Chopin Frieze (6)

The night at the empty theater.

I am allowed to go up on stage, sitting next to Irina's piano, having a conversation with her.

"Chopin showed talent for the piano from a young age. By the age of seven, he had already composed two polonaises."

"What are polonaises?"

"They are Polish dance pieces like this."

Irina plays a brief piece. Oh, I've heard this before.

"Is this also Chopin's composition?"

"Of course. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven all composed polonaises, but Chopin’s are considered the best."

Irina stops playing and says,

"At that time, the Polish media said about the young Chopin, 'We thought geniuses were only born in Germany or Austria, but finally, a genius has emerged in our country.'"

Irina, usually not so talkative, is now full of praise for Chopin.

"Moreover, Robert Schumann, having seen Chopin's performance, said this: 'Take off your hats, a genius has appeared!'"

Yeah, I get it, I'm great too. Now, tell me something that will help with the painting.

"Did he not marry?"

"Yes, but he had a lover for over 10 years. It was almost like they were married. George Sand was the woman. Known for dressing as a man to enter salons and spreading rumors with many men, but in fact, it was known that there was unilateral devotion from her in their relationship."

Irina continues.

"Chopin's health deteriorated, and he recuperated in Mallorca, later returning to Paris, but not much time was left for him. Chopin asked for Mozart's Requiem to be played at his funeral, but as the church did not allow female singers, it took two weeks to persuade them. Eventually, the church conceded, and he was laid to rest with the music he loved."

"Where was he buried?"

"His grave is in Paris, but as Chopin loved Poland dearly, he had Polish soil sprinkled on his grave, and his heart, as per his will, was given to his sister and later placed in the Holy Cross Church in Warsaw."

Wow, even back then, they could remove a person's heart and send it to their homeland.

Chopin's love for his country was immense.

"Where did you say he recuperated earlier?"

"It was on the island of Mallorca in Spain."

Where have I heard that before?

As I ponder, Irina smiles and says,

"Lee Kang-in, a Korean soccer player, played for RCD Mallorca."

Ah, no wonder it sounded familiar.

It's strange to hear that a Korean player played on the same Spanish island where Chopin recuperated. A feeling of kinship? Or perhaps a sense of connection.

Irina, watching me nod, says,

"Is Jung-hoon planning to paint something like Klimt's Beethoven Frieze?"

"Well, that's the direction I'm considering, but it's not decided yet."

"Klimt's painting was inspired by Beethoven's Ode to Joy, right?"

"Yes, that's correct."

"Ode to Joy was a song form poem by Friedrich Schiller, right?"

"Yes, that's right."

A beautiful poem creates great music, and that music becomes humanity's eternal melody. This poem, written by the German poet Friedrich Schiller in 1785, became a piece through Beethoven that embodies humanity's pure aspiration for unity.

Irina snaps her fingers.

"Do you know Chopin's nickname?"

"No, I don't."

"The poet of the piano."


Hints from Irina, suggesting a connection with Beethoven's painting, but still, I feel like I'm wandering in a foggy place.

Irina's passionate explanation enters my ears, but I am lost in other thoughts.

'Comical imagination.'

I heard the conversation between Klimt and Hoffmann in a dream. But that doesn't mean I want a simple answer that integrating comic imagination into pure art is the way.

'What Klimt taught me was not to define the boundaries of art and to learn and integrate anything, not necessarily to learn something from comics.'

The boundaries of art, set by someone unknown.

I have no intention to follow them. Or rather, I have decided not to.

There was an artist named Marcel Duchamp. He submitted a urinal as a work of art to a museum, labeling it 'Fountain'. The museum initially refused to display this bizarre artwork, but Duchamp protested, arguing that the urinal represented the purification of the stagnant notions in the art world.

Then, the museum acknowledged his urinal as an artwork and exhibited it.

Eighty years later, in 1999, a female artist named Tracey Emin presented a piece called "My Bed". She brought her own used bed and displayed it. While Marcel Duchamp gave a somewhat meaningful name to his urinal, she simply presented her old bed under the plain title of "My Bed".

What really is the essence of art?

Considering these examples, what we call art might be determined by whether it's exhibited in a gallery or a museum or not.

Hypothetically, if we take a washing machine from our house, give it a plausible name, submit it to a museum, and it somehow gets exhibited, does our home washing machine become an artwork from that moment?

In such an art world, what activities classified as creative should stand on the border of art and non-art? Isn't everything art? What conditions are needed to be recognized as art?

The creator and the viewer both have different perspectives,

What may seem trivial to me could appear beautiful to someone else,

And what others are indifferent to might be precious to me.

I clenched my fist and thought quietly.

‘If it can bring about a change of heart in even one person, then it's art.’

I looked at Irina, who was passionately explaining Chopin, and thought.

'After all, no interpretation of a piece of art can convince everyone.'

The reason Klimt didn't explain his paintings was that he didn't want to uniformize the diverse interpretations that explanations could bring.

I want to make such artworks too.

Paintings that can be appreciated by anyone, without the need for an expert’s interpretation.

I met Irina and studied Chopin, aspiring to paint like Klimt, not confined by the boundaries of art and non-art.

But the path is still unclear.

Klimt faced the same dilemma when he painted Beethoven; it was a new realm of creation then.

‘Anguish gives birth to art.’

I still believe in these words said by a professor during a philosophy class in college. Back then, it seemed like a madman’s rambling. But the more I live a social life, the more I find his words to be true.

It's past midnight.

A thunderous sound from Irina’s stomach interrupts her explanation.

Snapped out of my thoughts, I chuckled at Irina’s blushing face.

“Shall we go for a meal now?”

Embarrassed, yet looking forward to today's menu, Irina quickly got up and asked.

“What are we eating today?”

“Did it rain briefly today? It still feels humid, doesn’t it?”


"In Korea, on such days, we usually drink makgeolli with jeon*." [T/N: Pancakes]

"John? Is that a type of meat? It sounds like a person's name, which is a bit odd."

"Ha ha, not John, jeon. Come with me. You'll like it once you try it."

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