SEOUL — In the heart of bustling Seoul, inside a dimly lit room at the Seoul Museum of Art, the quiet chatter of birds and insects, along with the odd howl of a wolf, and the sounds of hushed winds moving through grass and trees play for a surprised audience. The music of nature is not something one often hears in a densely populated, urban metropolis like Seoul.

The natural soundscapes of sound artist Bernie Krause’s “Great Animal Orchestra” were one of many immersive experiences, including philosophical films, larger-than-life statues and optical illusion drawings, offering urban respite at Fondation Cartier’s “Highlights” exhibition that launched here Tuesday.

“People can be transported to a place through what they hear,” said Krause, who was in town for the press conference and opening events. “There’s something in our DNA that brings us back to a place where we came, from when we lived in the forests and the deserts of Africa. It incorporates part of our physical being, these [sound]waves in the air that cause our ears to vibrate. This is the magic of what Cartier has allowed to occur.

Fondation Cartier was launched by the fine jeweler and watchmaker in 1984 as a non-profit organization and museum to promote new up-and-coming artists. “Highlights” is the foundation’s first show in South Korea, and is held in partnership with the Seoul Museum of Art.

The exhibition, open to public until August 15, features over 1,500 works by a host of international artists and movie directors including Ron Mueck, David Lynch, Chéri Samba, Cai Guo-Qiang, and Sarah Sze. Three South Korean artists — Lee Bul, film director Park Chan-wook and his creative partner Park Chan-kyong, under the name “PARKing CHANce”, and digital artist Sunwoo Hoon — were selected by the Seoul Museum of Art to showcase their works locally.

“Our exhibition was done with the Seoul Museum because we have to learn [about South Korean art] before we can decide and choose [which South Korean artists to show],” said Fondation Cartier general director Hervé Chandès, who explained that the same exhibition will head to Shanghai next spring.

“Seoul is a very creative scene, it’s a very creative city. And we really wanted to interact with this creativity,” said Chandès.

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