Older male K-pop fans inspire artist

Older male K-pop fans inspire artist
K-pop girl group Crayon Pop.

SEOUL - There have been flashy, glamorous collaborative projects between K-pop stars and artists, but few have dealt with the fans who cheer on the stars.

Artist Jung Yeon-doo examines a fan craze for Korean pop idols in his latest work "Crayon Pop Special." The group of fans in whom Jung took interest, however, was not teenage girls, but men in their late 30s and 40s.

Cheers in low male voices echo across the exhibition hall. The bass sounds come from Jung's 30-minute video showing about 50 older male fans of the girl group Crayon Pop. In the clip, the male admirers wear cheerleader costumes designed with motifs inspired by the young girls' stage clothes and sing along at the top of their voices.

"I started the video project because I thought of the middle-aged male fan craze as an interesting social phenomenon in Korean society," Jung said at the press preview of his exhibition at Plateau, Samsung Museum of Art, on Monday.

The artist, whose previous exhibition examined the identities of ordinary little-known members of society, highlights the peculiarities of these male fans. Jung, who was named "Artist of the Year" in Korea in 2007, received much acclaim with his video piece, "Six Points," that seamlessly followed the movements of pedestrians on the streets of New York.

"Korean men in their 30s and 40s are a very interesting demographic. They have undergone a bitterly competitive life so they understand how difficult it is to achieve success. They cheer for the B-list band ardently because they feel they are in the same boat, so they are gratified if the band's popularity rises (boosted by their enthusiastic support)," Jung said.

Jung said he was enamored with the older male fan group after watching their passionate cheering and insatiable dedication to the girl group. They hail from diverse localities, including Ulsan and Jeonju, southern cities far from Seoul.

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