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Hallyu! The Korean Wave - Exhibition at V&A South Kensington 


"Hallyu! The Korean Wave showcases the colourful and dynamic popular culture of South Korea, exploring the makings of the Korean Wave and its global impact on the creative industries of cinema, drama, music, fandom, beauty and fashion." (V & A 2023)

Through the Korean Wave exhibition, I was interested in the contents of Korean culture by exploring how it quickly developed from a war-torn country in the late 1950s to a major cultural powerhouse until the early 2000s. All of these are topics that I have dealt with while studying the footprints of Korean culture to some extent. The Korean Wave exhibition encompasses Korean pop culture such as movies, dramas, music, fandom, beauty, and fashion, and talks about the idea of the Korean Wave and its global impact. Furthermore, beyond popular culture, it consists of four sections, including works by major Korean contemporary artists such as Paik Nam-joon, Ham Kyung-ah, and Kwon Oh-sang. Section 1 "Until becoming a technology powerhouse" deals with Korea's historical background, Section 2 "Scene Directing" deals with K-drama and K-movies, Section 3 "Global Groove" deals with K-pop and fandom culture, and Section 4 "Inside Out" deals with K-beauty and K-fashion. 

Until now, in the West, the Korean exhibition has focused on traditional objects such as ceramics and clothing during the Joseon Dynasty, and it is interesting that the Hallyu exhibition presents current Korean culture rather than the old one. I was able to get various cultural and artistic inspirations to expand my thinking. What I am particularly interested in is the 8 panel folding screen. Historically, folding screens have exhibited images of oriental paintings, and it is interesting that contemporary art is used to display various themes such as fashion and patterns. Inspired by the modern development of folding screens, I was able to come up with the idea of transforming them into book concepts.


Horlyck, C. (2017) Korean art from the 19th Century to the present, London, Reaktion Ltd.

This book reviews the collapse of artistic customs, the emergence of new art forms due to changes in society, politics, and economic environment of Korean art from late 19th century to beginning of 21st century. This book deals with specific events, artists and works that are an important starting point for Korean art and defining a new direction. It portrays the development process of Korean art through the whole story of the works of artists representing each era. The establishment of Korean contemporary art to understand Korean modernism, it supports the arguments of historians and art critics. You can see the forms of art according to the process of modernization of Korea. How is modernist art evolving in Korea after rapidly changing politics after liberation, the Korean War and the establishment of the Republic of Korea? It is key that a book that can provide evidence for such a question. Korea attempted to protect uniqueness after being driven to the international stage from late Joseon Dynasty (1910), when Joseon Korea began participating in international fairs, exhibits of cultural products served as a means to assert its unique identity. p13

Understanding Korea's modernization process, I was able to discover that Koreans achieved modernism different from the West. Because Korea suffered war and Japanese colony. As seen in the Hallyu exhibition, Korea has historically broken through dark times and rapidly developed its culture, economy, and industry. Reflecting on their spirit, I've been pursuing constant development throughout my work. Breaking away from the subject-less modernism achieved under Japan, focus on the ideas of true modernism that met with Western modernism and developed into their own unique concepts. This is related to embody the unique language of Koreans  Hangeul, traditionally descending from five colours, and the elegance in my work.



 John Latham, Skoob works, Lisson Gallery, New York 2018

John Latham (1921–2006) used books as a medium extending his earliest spray-painted canvases into the third dimension by creating reliefs wherein the publication emerged from plaster on canvas. Titled “skoob,” a reversal of “books,” the works invert the traditional function of literature, typically read in a linear and temporal manner, to created an object that can be consumed spontaneously and without structure. Latham tried in some cases saw, slice or even burn books. Also, Latham inserted pipes into books, pumping polyurethane through them -named “book plumbing,” and he explained that this is analogy for how information is transmitted from source to source and from generation to generation. His work at the Lisson Gallery exhibition is a book relief made of various materials, including scrap metal, wire, gauze, and nails attached with plaster to a flat rectangular surface.

During a tutorial with Leo, we discussed proposals for the Barge House show exhibit.. My proposition was to show narrative storytelling methods. Because I was inspired by the museum Marcel Duchamp  through the miniature project research and have been making small books and wanted to display my books in the form of a miniscule library. However, I was attracted to the concept of John Latham suggested by Leo. Because I realized that the exhibition method according to my proposal was not completely out of the typical concept, I also learned that as an artist, the work itself should be able to convey a message to the audience. In the process of investigating the development of Korean art failed to achieve true modernism under the period of Japanese rule. Just as a new generation of cultural and artistic identities can be found, I wanted to convey a message to the audience about the confusion of my cultural identity. Inspired by 'Study for a Bing Monument 1976' , I created the cross between Korean and English books. The message I intended within this project was to; represent a personal discord forged by the conflict between tradition, symbolised by the vertical line, and modernism shown by the horizontal.


Study for a Bing Monument 1976

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