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Chapter 81 Part 2 - 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

Min-young gestured to the man on the far right and spoke.

"Since it's our first meeting, how about we each come forward and introduce ourselves?"

The bald man. On closer inspection, it seems he's not balding but has shaved his head. The combination of his thick black horn-rimmed glasses and bald head looks quite stylish. He hesitated for a moment, then stood beside Min-young and began speaking.

"Hello, I'm Jung Su-han, a sculptor."

Clap, clap.

A polite smattering of applause follows.

Min-young then spoke from beside Su-han.

"Artist Jung Su-han is a rising star, nicknamed the 'Dark Master of Imagination.' He entered the art world with his human miniature models and focuses his art on vividly depicting the pathological ecology of modern society, while metaphorically representing the twisted aspects of human relationships and social structures."

Hearing Min-young's introduction, I remembered someone.

'That's him.'

I didn't know his face, but I'd seen him in the news. A prodigy who graduated from Seoul National University's College of Fine Arts and its graduate school. He's an artist backed by one of the country's major conglomerates and has works collected in the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. Quite a remarkable person was here.

After Su-han, a woman who seemed to have absorbed a lot of foreign influence stepped forward.

"Eh, I'm not very good at Korean."

Min-young nodded and replied.

"You can speak in English if you prefer."

"Thank you."

The woman spoke more comfortably.

"I'm Joo Chae-young."

At the sound of her name, I perked up.

A painter graduated from Columbia University in the US, she gained attention a few years ago in New York for her exhibition using North Korea's Workers' Party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, and Choco Pies as subjects.

She uniquely creates her artworks using chocolate instead of paint. She believes that as a Korean, it's a responsibility to be aware of what's happening in North Korea, and she's known for donating all her exhibition earnings to North Korean defector organizations.

'Wow, I'm among such people.'

Min-young added more details about Chae-young, similar in level to what I had just thought. The third person to come forward is also a woman. A sturdy and down-to-earth woman, she smiled and said,

"I'm Lee Hwa-jung, a photographer."

Photography? Did a photographic artist come too?

I'm not familiar with that person.

At that moment, Su-han, who was the first to speak, interjected in surprise.

"The Lee Hwa-jung who was awarded at the 2022 Korean Artists' Day?"

Wow, an award at the Artists' Day? A photographer? That's impressive.

Hwa-jung smiled modestly and nodded.

"Yes, embarrassingly so."

Min-young chimed in.

"Artist Lee Hwa-jung is regarded as a pioneer in photographic art. As you know, she has built a significant career through various awards and competitions. She graduated from Hongik University, majoring in Photography and Visual Design."

Wait, she graduated from two departments? It's not possible to graduate from both simultaneously, right?

Could it be that she studied for eight years?

The next man to come forward had hair covering half of his face and looked a bit gloomy. He spoke with his head down the entire time.

"I'm Jeon Kwang-ho."

Min-young waited for a moment for his brief introduction to continue, then stepped in.

"Artist Jeon mainly operates through SNS, but is a famous painter who also exhibits his work in the Saatchi Online Gallery. After graduating from Keimyung University's Department of Western Painting, he studied abroad in Germany."

Saatchi Online Gallery? Really?

Exhibiting in the contemporary art museum in London is something I've never even dreamed of. What kind of paintings does he create?

Min-young continued.

"Artist Jeon paints images that seem like human figures, but their faces and bodies' boundaries are dispersed and distorted by the paint, appearing to explode. The usage of objects is precise, but not so with people. A single word cannot define a person, and he likes to express the ambiguity inherent in humans, which led him to create abstract human figures. His work, encapsulating complex human emotions and energy and bringing the inner world of humans to the outer world through distortion and exaggeration, is highly regarded among emerging artists."

Wow, is that what they call a genius?

After hearing all this, even his gloomy appearance seems to be an expression of his genius.

Finally, the last woman stood up.

She looked the oldest among those who had appeared so far.

"I do installation art, Kim Jung-min."

Kim Jung-min?

She's also someone I've seen in the news.

An installation artist who creates works using only threads and light to fill spaces.

Sometimes, her works are flat, sometimes they utilize the entire space for installation. Viewers of her installations have a unique experience through dreamlike visual elements and audio.

The thread is very thin and delicate, easy to break, but in her works, it dominates the space, creating a strong sense of stability. This interplay of stability and instability creates tension in her art.

I once stumbled upon a free exhibition of her installation art in Dongdaemun. That's how renowned she is. From what I remember, she's a graduate of Ewha Womans University and spent a long time studying in the UK.

'What's unique is that her major was not in art college, but in engineering.'

Engineering and art are quite distant fields, but the incredible expressions that arise when an artistically inclined person combines with the meticulous calculations of an engineer felt like a fusion of science and art.

Am I really supposed to be here?

Finally, it's my turn.

As Min-young signals me to come forward, I swallow hard and stand up.

In the eyes of these people, I'm literally a nobody. A sense of embarrassment surfaces.

"I am... Ban Jeong-hoon."

A look of curiosity appears on the faces of the five painters.

Of course, they wouldn't know my name. I haven't achieved anything in the art world.

My self-esteem plummets as I bow my head.

Then, Min-young's voice breaks the silence.

"Everyone, please look up."

As the five painters look up at the ceiling, Min-young speaks.

"The pride of W Tree Hannam, the artist who painted the fresco on the ceiling of the catacombs is Ban Jeong-hoon. He is also the one who presented digital media art at the recent performance of Irina Sevanova, and simultaneously, he is the co-designer of the famous refrigerator Belle Époque by MG Electronics."

The painters' eyes all turn to me at once.

Curiosity swiftly fills their faces.

But wait. Hearing my achievements from Min-young, I don't seem to be that far behind, do I?

Ah, it must be my imagination.

What can I offer in front of such geniuses?

After Min-young seats me, she addresses the six people.

"The six artists I have introduced to you here are the painters from South Korea who will be creating together for this joint exhibition. I look forward to the day when I can proudly say that your exhibition was held at our hotel."

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