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Seoul Searching | DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition at the Seoul Museum of Art.

I'm a self-confessed museum geek. I love visiting museums and going to exhibitions; most of all, I love how intellectually stimulating and emotionally enriching a trip to the museum can be. That being said, South Korea has a proliferation of museums, which is actually one of the many reasons why I love this country. In the capital alone, there are about a hundred or so museums - in compliance to the Seoul city government's policy to have museums all over the city.

I make it a point to drop by a museum or two whenever I travel abroad (not that I go abroad very often), and last spring I had the chance to visit another well-known museum in South Korea - the Seoul Museum of Art.
Seoul Museum of Art.
Situated in the heart of South Korea's capital, the Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA) first opened in 1988 and has since become one of Korea's leading art venues. With its classic Renaissance-style facade combined with modern architecture, SeMA is also hailed as one of the most beautiful museum architectures in the country.
Seoul Museum of Art.
A popular attraction among locals and tourists alike, the Seoul Museum of Art has ultra-modern, well-lit galleries that showcase the works of Korea's seasoned and budding artists. Aside from being an avenue for emerging local artists, SeMA also brings the global art scene within reach of the Korean audience by hosting internationally renowned exhibitions twice a year.
Promotional poster, Dreamworks Animation: The Exhibition.
Just recently, SeMA hosted DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition, the world's largest animation exhibition to date. The exhibition ran from April 30 until August 15, and Yue and I were lucky to be in Seoul during that time. It's not everyday that we get to see an exhibition as huge as this, and we definitely did not let this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity pass us by. 

Scenes from Dreamworks Animation: The Exhibition after the jump!

After our trip to Edae, Yue and I headed for nearby Deoksugung to catch the exhibition. We were greeted by this colossal inflatable statue of Po (and the little pandas) as we made our way to the ticket booth.
They don't call this a huge exhibition for nothing. :)
Huge, literally and figuratively.
Admission to the Seoul Museum of Art is free in general, but special exhibitions such as this usually come with a fee. Tickets were priced at 13000 won for adults, 10000 for youth (13-18 years old), and 8000 for kids age 12 and below.
Luckily, there was no queue at the Ticket Box.
I shelled out 21000 won for our tickets, which converts to somewhere around Php 800. Not bad, considering it's DreamWorks.
Our tickets. :)
Upon entering the museum, the first thing we noticed was this lifelike figure of Toothless (How to Train your Dragon) 'hovering' from above. 
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We did not have a hard time finding the exhibition, it's located on the first floor, where Melman's butt (Madagascar) is on display. Haha!
Lol, Melman. :D
With penguins Skipper and Kowalski.
We were ushered towards the exhibition area by an English-speaking staff, who briefed us with the museum guidelines. Cameras are allowed inside. Taking pictures is okay, as long as you refrain from using flash. 
For without the hard work of the artists, there would be no Po or Toothless or Melman.
Inside the exhibition area, we witnessed how Po, Melman, Shrek, and other DreamWorks characters came to life. Aptly titled 'From Sketch to Screen', the exhibition gave us a rare glimpse of the studio's collaborative and visionary approach to animation, took us into the world of the artists and filmmakers and showed us how their creativity, imagination, and hard work produced some of the most beloved and iconic animated films of all time. 
Masks and sketches. Lots of sketches.
Conceptualizing Alex from Madagascar.
I personally love this sketch.
The Master of Balance, in color. :)
The exhibition highlights the three main components of an animated film: character, story, and world. The first section, Character, traces the evolution of iconic DreamWorks characters - from concept drawings to colored paintings, from sketches to 3D models.
These handcrafted clay/moulded plaster sculptures are called maquettes.
Made during the production phase of the film, these maquettes give the filmmakers
a clearer idea of how a particular character would look like in 3D space.
Verne from Over the Hedge.
Gromit from The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
Po and friends. :)
On the other hand, the middle section, Story explores the process of constructing a feature-length narrative starting from its original inspiration to the final storyline. Throughout this section are TV screens showing artists' interviews. In some of these interviews, you will see how the creators go to great lengths produce critically-acclaimed animated films - acting out the characters' gestures in real life to better understand how they move. 
Storyboards! Each pile is equivalent to one film. 
From where the movie was adapted. :)
Yue, in awe. :)
This section even has a reconstruction of of a typical brainstorming session - messy table, all sorts of sketches, lots of crumpled paper, and cups of coffee to keep the neurons working and the ideas coming.
Typical brainstorming scene.
The storyboarding process.
The Kung Fu Panda storyboard.
In the last section, World, the magical environments integral to every DreamWorks animated film take the spotlight. This section also details the challenges of incorporating the characters and their actions into these worlds. 
A staff volunteered to take this photo.
Too bad Melman's head got chopped along the way.
This is from Madagascar, I reckon.
Awesome illustrations from Kung Fu Panda.
I'd love to have these on my living room wall.
The little man enjoying the exhibition.
With more than 400 displays, the exhibition was indeed, a feast for our eyes. I personally enjoyed the 'stormy brainstorming session' as it reminded me of my high school and college days when we'd work our butts off just to beat the deadline for the school paper.
Dabbling with the FacePower software.
Someone's having a lot of fun. :)
He spent a lot of time in this area, haha!
Aside from the displays, the exhibition also features interactive digital experiences, allowing visitors to try the software used for making films. The FacePower software, for instance, helps the artists adjust each of the character's facial expressions. Yue was amazed at how many different facial expressions Po can have, and how a slight twitch of the eyebrow can create a totally new facial expression.
Playing with the wave patterns.
Listening to the soundtrack.
Of course, I have to experience this for myself. :)
Free-hand sketching.
Future animator? Who knows! :)
The highlight of this digital interactive zone is the Dragon Flight - a dragon's eye view of Berk. Here, we were able to experience 'flying' over the lushly detailed landscape of 'How to Train your Dragon', projected on a wrap-around screen.
Dragon Flight.
As our tour of the exhibition came to an end, the little man had an epiphany - "Mommy, there are so many steps in making a movie! It's not easy to make them!" I beamed at him, knowing that he understood the kind of work it takes to make a 90-minute film. The 21000 won I coughed up was worth it, after all, Haha!
Like the ending to every movie - credits. :)
Some of the souvenirs for sale.
A beeline to the Art Shop before leaving the museum.
Thank you, Seoul Museum of Art! Until the next exhibition! :)
The DreamWorks Exhibition will be touring until 2020. For information on their next venue, visit the ACMI website

To get to the Seoul Museum of Art, take the City Hall Station Exit 1.

6 replies:

pkjulesworld kalungi said...

Wow what a lovely post! I love Traveling and Museums are a favorite of mine too. I love the historical nature an above all the fun way to learn for little ones. Most museums these days add the fun factor for the children and all for Free! Thanks for sharing!

Mai C. said...

This is awesome! I can imagine taking my kids there. They're going to have so much fun and it's definitely going to be one memorable trip.

Nicole Escat said...

Im sure my kids would love tgis animation museum. It such an fun adventure.

Xoneia Tayag said...

Dreamworks is amazing and they've been around for a long time! It would be awesome to be able to tour this place and just enjoy everything they have to offer!

Fatima Torres said...

This looks like a lovely place for kids to visit. I think it's important for kids to see how much work goes into every production. It's always fun to see your favorite character. Our boys LOVE Kung Fu Panda.

mail4rosey said...

How awesome to get to see this type of museum! Like you, I love to visit museums when I travel. :)

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