How K-pop star and budding mega-collector RM weaved his favorite art and artists into his first solo album ‘Indigo’

Noted art collector and influencer RM, leader of K-pop boy band BTS, has his passion for art central for his album release on December 2. Indigohis debut solo album, leads with an artistic theme from the album title and artwork to the physical album and its promotion, with RM discussing Korean abstract artist Yun Hyong-keun during press interviews.

“This is my own kind of tribute,” RM told radio host Zach Sang in an interview. “I don’t think there’s anyone who’s ever paid tribute to a Korean painter, as a K-pop artist, so I think it’s going to be really unique and fun.”

While there are artistic touches throughout the album, Yun Hyong-keun, an artist who has called RM “admirable” and “his favorite”, is the clear focus. One of Yun’s paintings, Blue (1972) is on the album cover photo with RM, photographed by photographer Mok Jungwook, and the first track is named after Yun. A spokesperson for HYBE, the entertainment company representing BTS, told Artnet News that the oil painting appears courtesy of Yun Hyong-keun’s estate and PKM Gallery, and that the Charlotte Perriand stool on the album cover is from RM.

RM in a promotional photo for Indigo. Photo courtesy of Big Hit Music.

In a “Magazine movieexplaining Indigo‘s creation and themes as part of album promotion, RM said, “There is a painting I refer to in my first issue by artist Yun Hyong-keun that came out right before his signature style. It is a painting that resembles his last study.

“Yun”, featuring Erykah Badu, begins and ends with samples of archive recordings from the artist speaks in Korean about truth, moral goodness, beauty, rejecting greed and the nature of humanity. It fits a song where RM refers to Yun as his “contemporary” and modifies Yun’s own words to form lyrics like “For true beauty is true sadness / Now you could feel my madness.”

RM told Sang that the line about madness comes from a diary of Yun. After being imprisoned several times for political reasons and narrowly escaping execution, the artist left behind bright colors. He referred to the work he made as part of the monochromatic Dansaekhwa movement in Korea as a representation of his anger and his madness. “When I see his ‘madness,’ it’s really something elegant and very beautiful,” RM said, referring to Yun’s signature style of dark rectangles created by repeatedly applying umber and ultramarine oil to linen.

RM has a Yun painting in this style in his house, which he told Sang is the “head position” in his house. living room, and another in his studio. He said, “I actually have a dialogue with it sometimes, with its piece.” Imitating himself talking to the painting, he added, “Come on, give me – give me some – give me some courage.”

RM has previously brought his interest in the fine arts into his day job: One of his recent self directed photo shootsfor example, took place inside and featured prominently in a Lee Bae exhibit at the Indang Museum in Daegu, South Korea. In the past, however, he objected when asked to directly relate art to his career, describing art as a salve and reprieve away from work. Indigo and the promotions surrounding it involve the musician bringing these two sides of himself together more fully than audiences have yet seen.

Sharp-eyed viewers will notice that the albums promotional images including vintage Pierre Jeanneret furniture and a few moon pots. Moon jars are traditional Korean pottery from the Joseon era that have inspired artists such as Kim Wang, Park Young-Sook and Lee U-fan, and are currently experiencing a revival of sorts. According to HYBE, the vintage furniture was rented out as props.

The physical packaging of the album itself is designed to look like a brochure for a museum exhibit. BTS fans buy physical albums in large numbers, largely because of the value of what’s inside. RM added cyanotype artwork along with more typical inserts such as lyrics and promotional photos from the aforementioned shoot. According to the HYBE representative, RM did not make the cyanotypes himself, although the materials used were “earth, rocks, sand, thorns, dried wildflowers and leaves, chiffon cloth, pencil, hand, tape, etc.” The use of wildflowers is thematic, as the album’s lead single is titled “Wildflower” in English.

Of Indigo‘s general art motif, RM also introduced the album to fans via live stream as if it were an art exhibition. Portion as a curator, he presented 10 symbolic items, one for each song, explaining how each related to the song. The title of the song “No. 2′, for example, is a reference to Jackson Pollock who made his first drop painting ‘Number 1,in addition to symbolizing RM’s own “second act.”

The uptempo, funky pop song “Still Life” was naturally inspired by the artistic term, which RM says is different from its Korean equivalent, which translates to “inanimate object.” In explaining the meaning of the song in his Magazine Film, RM returned to a common theme for him, the sense of timelessness in art: “So the artist was painting, and in a way it felt like they had eternal life in it. tried to blow. The flowers that the artist drew 100 years ago withered and died long ago, but here it is still alive.”

The musician associated this concept of eternal life with his own fame; preservation at a price and a statement of resistance to stagnation, consistent with its intent to continue growing, according to his comments on the opening track “Yun.”

“I think my life as K-pop artist RM of BTS is like being on a pedestal in a gallery. I am always seen and people are always looking at me. And I have to be aware of that,” RM said. “I was drawn on canvas as a still life, but I will not stop and will constantly transform. So I’m a still life, but I won’t stop moving.”

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