Art market Magazine May 2016

 
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Portrait of Henri Loyrette 
© 2010 Musee…
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Portrait of Henri Loyrette
© 2010 Musee du Louvre/Didier Plowy

Portrait of Agnès Benayer
Rights reserved


MEETING

A look at both sides of France-Korea

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nitiated in September 2015 to celebrate the 130th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations, France-Korea Year
has involved events all over France: nearly 200, in fact, highlighting Korean culture in all its diversity. France Year began in Korea in March, and lasts until December 2016. Henri Loyrette, chairman of the organising committee, and Agnès Benayer, general director, agreed to talk to the Gazette Drouot about this rich and varied programme. Loyrette, the former director of the Orsay and Louvre museums assumes this chairmanship with undisguised pleasure. Why is Korea so fascinating, do you think? Henri Loyrette. We are still in the process of discovering Korea. In terms of creation, it's a country that has emerged more recently than China and Japan. As we know, after the Korean War, and for years after that, it was one of the world's poorest countries. Its recovery – not only economic but also intellectual and artistic – commands our respect. We can only admire the Koreans' tenacity, their way of approa-

ching the modern world and their success in finding their place in it. Agnès Benayer. A Korean will never say "my" country, but "our" country. This sense of the collective, combined with a real capacity for work, is what has made it a great economic power today. It's a country of incredible pluck with a very strong cultural identity. For instance, they invented an alphabet in the 15th century in order to get free of the Chinese system. Korea believes in culture, and that's what brings us together. With Korea, people often talk about the balance between tradition and modernity… For me, it involves not just an enlightened awareness of belonging to a very ancient civilisation, but also the way they revive it today, and draw from it to inspire contemporary creation. That reflects what I did at the Musée du Louvre, for example. I always said that what we have preserved and what we exhibit to the public should also be a springboard for current creation. In Korea, it covers a very broad spectrum. We can see

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Art Market Magazine May 2016
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