Korea was in political and social tumult in the late nineteenth century -- but so was Jang Seung-up, a self-taught artist from the lower class. Jang has obvious artistic talent, but his humble origins preclude him from advancing as an artist. But a merchant recognizes his genius, and acts as his patron. Constrained for too long by societal structures and his own early limitations, Jang eventually breaks free and develops a new style of art in traditional Korea. In doing so, he leads the way for all future Korean artists. Kwon-taek Im's film Chihwaseon
(also known as Painted Fire
in the West) documents the turbulent life of a free spirit who rose above the limits of his time and place to achieve immortality through his art. The film screens at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. today at the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park (314-721-0076 or www.slam.org
) as part of the Dano Korean Spring Festival. Admission is free.
Sat., June 20, 11 a.m. & 2 p.m., 2015