One word sums up my feelings about this show – WOW!!!
The Painters: HERO is an non-verbal performance that features live drawing accompanied by visual effects, incorporating mime, dance and comedy into the acts.
This 80-minute show centered around a “Heroes” theme, will take the audience through a fascinating process where 10 art pieces are created live on stage, using creative techniques which I’ve never imagined could be turned into art! There are also unexpected twists in some of the acts.
I watched the performance during its brief run at the Resorts World Theatre on 10-11 june 2016 and initially I was a little skeptical about what to expect from the show after reading the synopsis – to further clarify, I failed art during my secondary school days, so you can imagine me wondering how exciting can an art performance be?
This is the opening set which greets the audience when you enter the theatre:
The show started out a little slow-moving to me and the first art piece was created using a technique called Light Scratching, which is similar to carving a sculpture on a black canvas except that this had an added complexity involving a spinning screen. The outcome revealed a picture of Beethoven, but I was scratching my head as to whether this was an image being projected or something else.
There were several segments between the acts where the performers interacted with the audience. As this was a non-verbal performance, it initially took the audience some time to be warmed up to what the performers were doing and what they expected from the audience, but once everyone finally understood, it started to turn into some hilarious moments! Do note that those seated immediately in front of the stage would have better chances of being picked to go on stage to “perform” with the cast and you will be rewarded for your efforts with some memorabilia from the show.
The pace of the show then picked up with an Action Painting segment, which combined Jackson Pollock’s style of drip painting with dancing to the beat of The B-52’s Love Shack. Four canvases were being worked on at the same time and they each looked like pieces of abstract art! When we were all trying to figure out each of the completed pieces, they started to piece the four boards together (like fixing a jigsaw) and it turned into a painting of Michael Jackson! WOW!! Equally impressive was the dance sequence which followed and that incorporated the moonwalk!
I was also impressed with the Dust Drawing act which combined painting with sand art. A portrait was being drawn on black canvas using black paint and we were kept in the dark as to what was being drawn. Finally, sand was poured onto the canvas and we were amazed by the finished work!
There was a segment where the performers were given 3 minutes to stack cubes together in a frame to form a picture. I was seated too far away to be able to get a good look at the individual cubes, but I later learnt that they were Rubik cubes.
Over 200 Rubik cubes were used to create an amazing analog-style pixel art which revealed two different pictures at the front and back! This technique used is called Cube Art.
My absolute favourite part of the show was the Marbling Art that was performed to Disney’s catchy Under the Sea tune. This technique involves manipulating paint on water before eventually transforming this pattern to paper. Somehow this marbling process reminded me of latte art!!
There were at least 2 surprises for me in this act when the final artwork was revealed!
Hong Boram impressed us with his Speed Drawing of a tiger in 3 minutes! 3D video projection mapping was then added to the completed artwork and this made it look like the tiger had come alive!
There are slight variations to the show when it tours different countries and for the ones performed in Singapore, the Light Drawing segment featured various Singapore icons found in the Marina Bay area. Typically one would hardly think of light as an art medium, but this was quite a pretty sight drawn to the strains of Paloma Faith’s Stargazer, which added a tinge of melancholy to the atmosphere.
The finale featured Kang Shinkoo, Kwon Wooram and So Kwangmin in a drawing contest of speed and power! Romance of the Three Kingdoms was the theme for this Battle Drawing and the portraits of Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei were drawn.
As with most stage performances, photography and videography is not allowed during the shows, so when the cast came out with this “PHOTO TIME” sign, everyone was taken aback and started wondering if it was another act, a joke or whether we could really take pictures!
Oh…it was the curtain call and we were actually allowed to photograph it!! ^_^”
When the show ended, I went to get a closer look at the art pieces (you can see the 2 different views of the Superman piece in the photos below).
The 80 minutes just whizzed by and it’s been such a long time since I had a good laugh at the theatre!
The comic antics weaved into the performances, mime & dance routines and the entire process of creating the art pieces were not only entertaining, but also mesmerising in some acts! With my previous mime background, I could recognise the fixed point isolation techniques and I have to say – these guys were very good!
I was never a good art student and it was an eye-opener to me, being introduced to the different art mediums and techniques – this show kind of inspired me somewhat, to want to create something…
If you thought Nanta was good, The Painters: Hero takes performance art to another level!
Those of you who are planning a visit to Seoul or Jeju in South Korea, do consider watching this show as it is really fun and entertaining! Otherwise, if the show happens to be staged in your country, don’t miss the opportunity to go watch it!
The Painters: Hero performs two shows daily at two theatres in Seoul and Jeju, in South Korea.
5th Floor, 13 Donhwannum-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea.
3min walk from Jongno 3-ga station line no. 1, 3, 5, exit no 13, 14.
Halla Art Hall
(located in Jeju Halla University)
2nd Floor, 38 Halladaehak-ro, Jeju-si, Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, 690-708, South Korea.
Within five years, both the Seoul & Jeju theatres have staged 7,000 shows and reached over two million international audiences. In addition, the show has been performed in a total of 15 countries and 38 cities, including Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, Bangkok, Hollywood and Washington D.C. On average, they use at least 1,900 gallons of paint and 21,600 charcoal stumps each year for the shows!
- Minister’s certificate of approval, ‘Best Non-verbal Performance’ by the Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism in 2010.
- “Performance of the Year” at 2015 Korean Wave Awards.
There are 4 different teams of performers (Beethoven team, Chaplin team, Jackson team, Superman team) involved in The Painters: Hero as the show is not only performed locally in Korea, but it also travels to various countries. The recent shows in Singapore featured the Chaplin team and they did a great job!
Me…with the Chaplin Team – from Left: Hong Boram (홍보람), Kang Shinkoo (강신구), So Kwangmin (소광민), Kwon Wooram (권우람)