Korean resort Paradise City unveils new art space with museum-worthy collection
When the American business Steve Wynn was looking to open his eponymous Las Vegas resort in 2005, the casino magnate had intended to name the $2.4bn hotel La Rêve after a Picasso portrait he owned at the time. A prolific art collector, Wynn has long adorned his properties with European masterpieces and contemporary giants from his private collection. A roll of the roulette dice in front of a multimillion-dollar Manet may once have seemed an oddity, but extravagant art displays have since become the dernier cri of gambling joints.
So to Korea, where Paradise City is the latest entertainment resort to unveil a dedicated new art space, boasting a collection befitting of a museum. Take Jeff Koons’ sculpture Gazing Ball (Farnese Hercules) and Damien Hirst’s Aurous Cyanide painting, which both reside at the entrance where works from the permanent collection will be displayed. Upstairs, monumental installations by Korean artists Lee Bae and Kim Hodeuk dominate the first and second floor galleries.
All of Sudden Drawing the Space, 2018, by Kim Hodeuk
Both installations consider the allure of the colour black, explored through traditional materials of charcoal and ink. Lee Bae’s Issu de feu (2018) comprises hundreds of charcoal pieces on Korean hanji paper bound together like tree trunks. Similarly, Kim Hodeuk’s delves into darkness with All of Sudden, Drawing the Space (2018) where a series of hanji papers suspended above mirror inky liquid seemingly converges on itself. The shadows cast by the installation on the surrounding white walls are a decided part of the work.
The inaugural exhibition ‘Overstated & Understated’ has been curated by fashion designer and director Jung Kuho. Further works by blue-chip names including Ugo Rondinone, Robert Indiana, Subodh Gupta, Anish Kapoor, and Yayoi Kusama are installed throughout Paradise City. The 330,000 sq m resort is a 1.3 trillion won ($1.14 billion) joint venture between Korean casino operator Paradise Group and Japanese entertainment company Sega Sammy. The art space is part of the next phase of the development, which also includes the luxury boutique hotel Art Paradiso and concept spa Cimer. §