A photographic exhibition featuring the cultural idiosyncrasies and vibrant lifestyles of Budapest and Seoul is running at the Korea Foundation Gallery in Seoul until Feb. 20.
The venue ― “A Tale of Two Cities: Budapest and Seoul” ― is a collaboration between Hungarian photographer Gergely Szatmari and Korean photographer Kim Jin-seok. They traveled to each other’s capital in spring last year for over a month, from which they produced and selected 100 photographs for the exhibition.
In trying to capture the two cities’ spirits through foreign eyes, the artists have shown an “excellent example of cultural exchange,” noted Kim Jae-hwan, director of the Korean Cultural Center in Hungary, at the opening reception on Thursday.
“I am happy to discover through these photos the diverse expressions of my beautiful capital city,” Hungarian Ambassador Gabor Csaba said in a speech. “Hungarians are proud that Budapest has become a major tourist attraction and international hub in Europe. More and More Koreans are developing interests in Budapest.”
Hungarian Ambassador Gabor Csaba (right) speaks at the opening reception at Korea Foundation Gallery in Seoul on Thursday. In the picture are Korea Foundation vice executive president Yoon Keum-jin (third from left), director of the Korean Cultural Center in Hungary Kim Jae-hwan (second from left) and event curator Lee Jeong-hee. (Joel Lee / The Korea Herald)
Noting that Budapest and Seoul are both divided by Danube and Hangang rivers ― which separate them into Buda and Pest, and Gangbuk (north of the river) and Gangnam (south of the river) ― Korea Foundation executive vice president Yoon Keum-jin described Seoul as “a modern, colorful city responding to every change of our modern age,” and Budapest as having “the scent of history at every corner.”
Photographer Kim told The Korea Herald that he had worked in many places across Europe, “but no other city could match Budapest’s beautiful nightscape.”
“People call Prague ‘the Paris of Eastern Europe’ and Budapest ‘the Pearl of the Danube,’ and both cities are breathtaking,” he underlined, “but in my eyes, whereas Prague rather felt like a pretty bride, Budapest had a more rustic charm with thick contours.”
Unlike Seoul’s upbeat tempo and lifestyle, Budapest had “an air of tranquility, historicity and latitude,” much like the slowly moving trams and calmly flowing Danube, according to Kim.
Kim, who calls himself a “walking photographer,” said he thoroughly toured the city’s main arteries and narrow streets to grasp people’s emotions up close.
Visitors view photographs from the exhibition “A Tale of Two Cities: Budapest and Seoul” at the Korea Foundation Gallery in Seoul on Thursday. (Joel Lee/The Korea Herald)
“I had a preconceived notion of Hungarians as curt and cold folks, due to their communist past, but upon entering their lives, I realized they were brutally honest to their own feelings,” he noted. “Hungarians are extremely serious when it comes to learning, and enjoy the arts at some of the world’s highest levels.”
If Korean visitors combined their travel itineraries with musical programs, the experience would be more enriching, he highlighted, adding that the country is also home of Gypsy music.
The exhibition was organized by the Korea Foundation, the Korean Cultural Center in Budapest and the Hungarian Embassy in Seoul. Prior to the Seoul opening, it was presented at the kArton Gallery in Budapest, the Pecs Culture Festival in Pecs and the Korean Film Festival in Hajduhadhaza last year.
Article by Joel Lee for heraldcorp.com