French culture bash in Korea

French culture will be celebrated in Korea throughout 2016, as the year marks the 130th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and France.

쏷he Korea-France Year invites citizens to the cultural journey of France. French people had a chance to experience Korean culture last year at many cultural events that started with (the) Jongmyo Jeryeak performance and the light performance at Eiffel Tower, said Henri Loyrette, head of the French organizing committee of the Korea-France Year at a press conference on Wednesday in Seoul.

The 2015-2016 Korea-France Year kicked off in Paris last year with more than 150 cultural programs featuring traditional and contemporary Korean music, visual arts, films and literature hosted in France.혻

Hanjin Group셲 chairman Cho Yang-ho (left), head of the Korean organizing committee for the Korea-France Year, and Henri Loyrette, former director of the Louvre Museum and head of the French organizing committee for the Korea-France Year, speak at a press conference in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

This year, Korea is hosting French cultural events under the 2015-2016 Korea-France Bilateral Exchange Year, organized by Institut Francais, the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Korea Arts Management Service and the Korean Culture and Information Service.혻혻

쏷his year, more than 200 programs will take place in Seoul for citizens and experts. The programs are diverse, ranging from culture, education and French cuisine to bilateral cooperation in academia, sports, tourism and provincial governments, said Loyrette.

This week alone, a total of 15 cultural, economic and food events are taking place, ushering in the Korea-France Year.

쏶higane Nai, a collaborative dance performance created by renowned French choreographer Jose Montalvo and the National Theater of Korea, premiered Wednesday. It was the curtain raiser for the yearlong exchange of culture.

Another collaborative project, 쏷he Empire of Light, based on the novel of the same title by acclaimed Korean writer Kim Young-ha, is being staged at Myeong-dong Art Theater until March 27.

쏻e hope these collaborative activities will continue in the future and facilitate other new exchanges between the two countries, said Loyrette.

French rock singer-songwriter and guitarist Matthieu Chedid, known by his stage name -M-, is holding his first concert in Korea in Seoul on Thursday.혻

Leaders of Korea and France are gathering in Seoul on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss bilateral cooperation in economy, trade, business, diplomacy, and research and development. The event aims to strengthen the two countries comprehensive partnership adopted at the summit between President Park Geun-hye and French President Francois Hollande last November.

During the Tongyeong International Music Festival this weekend, French video artist Robert Cahen will showcase a video installation featuring French composer Pierre Boulez conducting 쏮emoriale as혻 an homage to the late composer, who died earlier this year.

Any celebration of French culture would be incomplete without food. Koreans will have a chance to sample gastronomic treats as 12 renowned French chefs will be holding a street food festival in Gwanghwamun Plaza on Friday and Saturday.

To see how Korea is viewed by the French, visit the Seoul Museum of History, which is presenting a photo exhibition by French photographer Francoise Huguier from Wednesday to May 29. The exhibition features about 150 photographs, including some that Huguier took during his brief stay in Korea in 1982. There are also photos he took during his trips around the world and pictures of Korea that he captured from 2014-2015.혻

At Dongdaemun Design Plaza, an exhibition featuring French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier셲 archive will open on Saturday. The exhibition, organized by the Maison Jean Paul Gaultier and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 2011, is making its final stop in Seoul after an 11-museum tour in eight countries. It showcases an extensive archive of Gaultier셲 dresses, sketches and video works.

By Lee Woo-young혻 (wylee@heraldcorp.com)