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Take a step into the colorful world of Tullet

Aug 03,2018
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In the final section of Herve Tullet’s exhibition, held at Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul, visitors can sit down and draw their very own illustrations and have them projected onto the wall. [SEOUL ARTS CENTER]
French illustrator Herve Tullet’s famous book “Press Here” (2010) has its young readers do more than just read, but asks them to push, rub and shake his book as if they are playing a game. The “Oh! Herve Tullet, A Retrospective,” an exhibition that will run until Oct. 21 at the Hangaram Design Museum at Seoul Arts Center, southern Seoul, is more than just an array of illustrations from Tullet’s famous books, but the chance to walk into his creative world.

Featuring some 300 works, including paintings, illustrations, installations and videos, the exhibition starts with how Tullet started his artistic career as a painter in the 1990s, moving on to his later works that made him the renowned illustrator he is today. One section of the exhibit named “Forest of Paper” is the highlight of the event, displaying works created by the painter for Korea. Bits and pieces of paper of all sizes, shapes and colors hang from the ceiling as if the pages of his books have come alive. Some of the pieces have been created during workshops with Korean children that he held prior to the exhibition.

“I close my eyes,” said Tullet to the local press on July 20. “When I’m working with children, I do not try to figure out who they are. I try not to think whether it is a child or an adult that I’m working with. I like to share an artistic experience, not teach people. I am more an artist than an educator, even though I do realize that my books are used often as educational books.”

In the spirit of sharing his artistic experience, visitors can get hands-on in various parts of the exhibition. There is a part where visitors can play a smartphone game based on the “Press Here” book. In the final parts of the exhibition, visitors can draw their very own illustrations and when they are finished have them projected onto the wall.

“It’s been 26 years since I started painting, but I haven’t had many chances to look back on my life,” said Tullet.

“It’s not easy for someone who illustrates for children’s books to hold such big exhibitions and interact with the public. Nonetheless, I’ve always held the hope to show myself to the world, and a wonderful chance has come. The biggest goal I’ve had is to share and give, which I believe was possible with this exhibition.”

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