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Classic French paintings come to life in Dongdaemun department store

Oct 14,2017
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Visitors to L’atelier can enjoy the vibe of 19th century France without traveling abroad, starting on Oct. 28 at Dongdaemun Hyundai City Outlet, central Seoul. From left: people sit in the Place du Forum, as depicted in Vincent van Gogh’s “Cafe Terrace at Night”; people enjoy the view of Place du Tertre, inside of Edouard Leon Cortes’ “Place du Tertre”; an actor plays French novelist Emile Zola and questions the death of Vincent van Gogh. [YOON SO-YEON, L’ATELIER]
Upon seeing a beautiful piece of artwork, people often wonder what it would be like to be at the actual scene depicted in the masterpiece. Some even choose to make a journey overseas to stand on the very hills that great artists like Vincent van Gogh once stood, to savor for themselves the inspirational landscape that birthed their classic works. To provide a similar opportunity here in Seoul, the Mackiss Company presents L’atelier, an interactive art theme park in the Dongdaemun Hyundai City Outlet in central Seoul, which will open on Oct. 28.

L’atelier takes the visitors to the streets of 19th century France, which gave birth to some of the greatest Impressionist artists such as Van Gogh, Edouard Manet and Edouard Leon Cortes. The 1,400-square-meter (15,070-square-foot) space resembles the streets of Paris and Arles, featuring residents and distinct landscapes which are projected on the walls throughout the indoor theme park.

Visitors can enjoy their walk through the five main sections of the art space: Place du Tertre, streets of Montmartre, Madeleine Flower Market, Place du Lamartine and Place du Forum. Every detail has been paid attention to, starting from the patterns of the floors and the walls, to each chair’s cushion, which are designed to look similar to a pillow in Van Gogh’s “The Bedroom.” Even the digital animations of paintings on the walls interact with the visitors.

Each and every space carries a unique meaning that is related to the life of renowned French artists, in addition to the three special attractions, one of which resembles Monet’s beautiful garden. Monet’s garden is a replica of the green space that inspired the artist’s “Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge” which has been recreated on three-dimensional screens throughout the space.

The other two performances revolve around the life of Van Gogh. An actor, impersonating famous French novelist Emile Zola, uses hologram images to pose a question about why Van Gogh ended up committing suicide, then a musical created by the company shows the creative genius’ life, from an enthusiastic young man to an old miserable loner.

After preparing for seven years and investing 15 billion won ($13.3 million) to develop the appropriate technologies required to make the interactive conversations possible, L’atelier awaits its grand opening later this month.

“We wanted to give the people a chance to live their dreams and fantasies in the reality,” said Ted Kim, the art director behind L’atelier. “Every piece of artwork is born through creative imagination. What we did is take that imagination and put it in a space with real people inside of it.”

BY YOON SO-YEON [yoon.soyeon@joongang.co.kr]

Dongdaemun Hyundai City Outlet is five minutes away from Dongdaemun History and Culture Park station, lines no. 2, 4 and 5. L’atelier is on the 11th floor of the building. Admission costs 24,000 won for adults and 20,000 won for children. For more information, visit www.light-atelier.com.