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BTS art project includes balloons and scribbles

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BTS art project includes balloons and scribbles
The BTS balloon will be similar to this sculpture, created by Argentinian artist Tomás Saraceno in 2007

K-pop band BTS are joining forces with some of the world's leading artists for an ambitious global art project.

Called , it will see Sir Antony Gormley creating a giant aluminium "scribble" in New York, and the creation of a "virtual forest" inside London's Serpentine Gallery.

In Argentina, Tomás Saraceno will "float" a human above the Salinas Grandes in a solar-powered balloon.

BTS said the project was meant to send a "positive message for the world".

Installations will go on show in London, Berlin, New York, Buenos Aires and Seoul, funded in part by the band's seven members.


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Serpentine Gallery artistic director Hans-Ulrich Obrist said the project was about "bridge-building".

"It's about connecting everyone who is interested with BTS with everyone who is interested in contemporary art. It's all about creating these new junctions."

It has not been disclosed how much the whole Connect, BTS project will cost.


BTS announced the project by video link from South Korea

Since their debut in 2013, BTS have become one of the biggest bands on the planet, playing two sold-out nights at Wembley Stadium last year.

Speaking by video-link from Seoul, the septet said the art project was an attempt to "give back some of the amazing love that we receive".

"We have always been inspired by the ability of music to communicate across borders, which is not very different to what art does," they said.

"I just became a fan of what they call fine art and visual art from last year, so I'm just a beginner," added singer Kim Nam-joon, who is also known to fans as RM.

"So currently my favourite hobby is to visit all the galleries and museums and see all the great pieces. It gives me a whole other world of thrill and shock and inspiration."

The project has been curated by renowned Korean artist Daehyung Lee, who pulled together the various strands in just seven months.

"Connecting five different cities means connecting five different time zones and five different [art] institutions," he explained. "So conceptually, 'connect' is a beautiful word - but physically and mentally and biologically it's quite dangerous."


The band have become a global phenomenon

He said the goal was to unite people of "different cultural backgrounds, social classes, ethnicities genders and identities", reflecting the way BTS's music had broken down borders.

Sir Antony Gormley said it was this philosophy that had persuaded him to take part.

"This is such a refreshing break-out," he said. "We have become used to the silos of the culture industry. We have been used to receiving art through the agency of the gallery, the museum, the art fair and the Biennale. All of them are speaking to the converted.

"This is a little, self-serving art world. Here is an opportunity for us to jump out of our silos."

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15 January 2020, 9:00