World-famous Korean pop band, BTS, have announced an unusual collaboration with 22 contemporary artists. The ambitious global project, called Connect, BTS, hopes to redefine the relationship between music and art, whilst sending “a positive message to the world.”
“It’s about connecting everyone who is interested with BTS with everyone who is interested in contemporary art. It’s all about creating these new junctions,” explained Hans-Ulrich Obrist, artistic director of Serpentine Gallery.
Over the next year, Argentinian artist Tomás Saraceno will levitate people above the Salinas Grandes in a giant solar-powered balloon, whilst Yiyun Kang will project an artistic “re-imagining of BTS’ signature dance movements” onto the Dongdaemun Plaza in Seoul. Opening this week, Jakob Kudsk Steensen immerses visitors in a “virtual forest” inside London’s Serpentine Gallery.
“It’s a way to connect people across countries, across energies, across generations,” clarified Saraceno.
The widely-acclaimed British sculptor Sir Antony Gormley is also featuring in Connect, BTS, creating an 18km “scribble” of aluminium tubing in New York. Gormley has since confessed that he had no idea who BTS were until he was approached, “I had to do a very rapid, self-taught course on K-Pop.”
Although the combination of K-pop and contemporary art has surprised both music and art fans alike, Connect, BTS is united by a shared wish for interconnectivity and diversity.
“We can connect with people at opposite ends of the world, but we sometimes forget to communicate with our own neighbours or relatives. We are losing solidarity, we have forgotten how to communicate properly with each other,” explained Daehyung Lee, the Seoul-based curator who helped conceive the initiative.
BTS formed in 2013 and have become one of the world’s biggest boy bands, selling out the London’s O2 arena twice. As the main funders of the project, the band wanted to “give back some of the amazing love that we receive.”
In a recent interview, the seven-piece band revealed that “this project is especially meaningful to us because it truly represents diversity and creates a collective, positive message for the world that we value.”
All the project’s artwork created in London, Seoul, New York, Berlin and Buenos Aires will be available for everyone to view online.