[“2023 Hyundai E&C Art Collaboration Campaign” Wide Advertisement Released on January 30 at Anguk Hyundai E&C Station]
Here is Exit 3 of Anguk Hyundai Construction Station of subway line no. 3. A unique illustrated advertisement hangs on a wide billboard where typical advertisements of public institutions, organizations, and companies used to hang. The rich colors and tightly arranged elements catch the attention of visitors coming to Anguk and provide a unique attraction. It looks like a poster for a new exhibition at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art located in Anguk, or a map of Changdeokgung Palace, which is located about 300 meters straight walk from Exit 3. A closer look reveals a familiar logo prominently displayed in the center: that of Hyundai E&C, Korea's leading builder with its 76-year proud history.
Adding Modern Touch to the History of Anguk
[View of Anguk Station (left), which has been renamed as Anguk Hyundai E&C Station since last year, and Hyundai E&C's Gyedong head office building, which has stood guard over Anguk for 40 years]
“This station is Anguk, Hyundai E&C”
Anguk Station on Subway Line 3 now has a new name. As part of Seoul’s project to auction off the naming rights for subway station, Anguk Station has now been renamed as Anguk Hyundai E&C Station. It has been 40 years since Hyundai E&C moved to Anguk from the Sejong head office in 1983. Given this fact, the station bearing the name of Hyundai E&C is all the more special. Moreover, as there are few skyscrapers in Anguk Station, Hyundai E&C's head office can be seen from everywhere, reminiscent of a guardian tree standing tall at the entrance of a rural town.
[Anguk is a historically significant area spanning Insadong and Bukchon]
Ankguk Hyundai E&C Station also holds an important place in Korean history. It is home to many venues that capture the spirit of the times: Changdeokgung Palace, which housed the largest number of kings in the Joseon Dynasty since its construction in 1405 (fifth year of King Taejong’s reign); Unhyeongung Palace, the residence and political base of Heungseon Daewongun during the chaotic late Joseon Dynasty; Taehwa Building in Insadong, where 33 national representatives gathered to declare independence; as well as Seoul Central High School, the cradle of the June 10th Movement.
Surprisingly, it is the younger generation who are most enthusiastic about Ankguk Station, which has been around for quite some time. With the Newtro(new+retro) craze, where “old” is accepted as “hip”, Anguk is beloved as a new and fresh neighborhood for the younger generation. Added to this is art and culture brought by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and the Seoul Museum of Craft Art, and vitality coming from local the cafes and brands that attract visitors coming from afar. As such, Anguk has become one of Korea’s most iconic hotspots where tradition, youth, and culture coexist.
Blending History and Tradition with Hyundai E&C’s Future Technology
The “2023 Hyundai E&C Art Collaboration Campaign” aims to capture this transformation in Anguk. It reflects the spirit of ongojisin, building on the old to open up the new, perfectly aligned with the spirit of Hyundai E&C. To add a youthful, futuristic touch to the 100-year-old company's legacy, Hyundai E&C collaborated with artist Kwang Kwang, whose illustrations capture traditional Korean beauty. The artist's energetic and original art style has transformed an ordinary subway station advertisement into an artwork that could be from an art gallery.
Hyundai E&C's “2023 Hyundai E&C Art Collaboration Campaign” wide advertisement is a series of three ads and will run until July 2023 at Exit 3 of Ankguk Station. The first, "Building History," harmonizes traditional elements with Hyundai E&C's smart construction technology building the future of Korea. A giant gate opens to reveal a tall building modeled after Injeongjeon of Changdeokgung Palace, and in front of it, General Black Rabbit, inspired by the statue of General Yi Sun-sin at Gwanghwamun, stands majestically. The rabbit looks like a guardian which wards off bad luck and ensures safety of the neighborhood. This is also of the fact this year celebrates the Year of the Black Rabbit, and all Hyundai E&C sites prioritize safety. Since ancient times, rabbits with strong fertility have been considered a symbol of abundance. In particular, the black color of the black rabbit means prosperity and great growth. The two black rabbit generals depicted in the <Building History> episode embodies Hyundai E&C's wish that 2023 will be a bountiful year, bringing good fortune for those passing through Anguk Hyundai E&C station.
[The color black is associated with prosperity and great growth, and rabbits have long symbolized abundance due to their fertility]
Even the traditional elements of the illustrations are filled with humor. Solar panels cover the second floor of the tiled roof, and escalators replace some of the stone steps leading up to the building. “Spot”, an unmanned safety robot that patrols the construction site, sits in the place of the legendary animal haetae that is supposed to guard the palace. The articulated construction robot that bears the name of Hyundai E&C is a welding robot that Hyundai E&C is using on actual construction sites.
In this way, Hyundai E&C's futuristic construction technology and traditional Korean elements are blended together to deliver a more unique feel to "Building History," which is somehow mysterious and yet seems to come together without any sense of disconnection. Here, history and future coexist, signaling that Hyundai E&C is opening a new future for Korea.
MINI INTERVIEW: Artist Kwang Kwang
Hyundai E&C X Young Artist Kwang Kwang
Q The <Building History> series of the Hyundai E&C 2023 Art Collaboration Corporate PR Campaign features some symbols of Korea. What is the meaning of each symbol?
<Building History> is a signature concept referring to a “symbol”. The logo representing Hyundai E&C is harmonized with the emblematic cultural heritage surrounding the Anguk Hyundai E&C Station to represent a unified symbol. The large palace and the dancheong and traditional patterns in the background symbolize a palace such as Changdeokgung Palace, and the background is expressed in colors of a typical traditional Korean house rather than the red color of a palace, to capture the mood of the Bukchon Hanok Village in Anguk Hyundai E&C Station.
The brave and wise General Black Rabbit, inspired by the statue of “General Yi Sun-sin” in Gwanghwamun, is a symbol of the Year of the Black Rabbit in 2023, and wards off bad luck, symbolizing wish for the safe and peaceful year. Moreover, elements of Hyundai E&C, such as automated construction robots, unmanned safety service robot “Spot”, and safety helmet trophy, were also interpreted as part of Korean culture. This means that Anguk, a place where history and future coexist, and Hyundai E&C, which has been leading Korea's construction history for 76 years, are joining hands in Anguk and Hyundai E&C Station, a symbolic location of Korea that incorporates the spirit of ongojisin, which is to build the new from the old.
[Hyundai E&C’s unmanned safety service robot “Spot” applied to construction sites]
Q It must have been challenging to represent Korean traditional elements and Hyundai E&C's future smart construction technology in a way not to feel out of place. How did you conceptualize it?
I thought about it a lot before commencing my work. I used to often think about how to combine modern elements with Korean beauty in my works, so this time as well, I tried putting together traditional elements with future elements of Hyundai E&C.
[Masterpiece by offering a glimpse into Artist Kwang Kwang’s art world]
Q What was your biggest focus in this work?
I tried to make sure that the images and atmosphere of Hyundai E&C, Ankguk Station, and Korea would blend well together. The most fun part of my work was the “General Black Rabbit”. Rabbits are usually represented as a gentle and cute creature. I wanted to make the rabbit to look tough and brave, so that it could look cool as well. It was a lot of fun working on it, and I'm glad that the finished image turned out as well as I had expected, matching the tone-and-manner of the work.