합 Collaboration – a review of the exhibition by Vittoria Biasi

17 November 2013

in Events reports

The Collaboration exhibition at the Korean Cultural Centre in London is an important event organised by The Korean Artists Association in the UK.

Exhibition View

Exhibition View

The Korean Cultural Centre’s project gives priority to spreading the knowledge of oriental creative thought with annual exhibitions in which the KAA member artists express their ideas through art in different media. Additionally, the cohesion and unity of the KAA artists gives them the possibility to reinforce their links with the UK. This year’s exhibition Collaboration draws inspiration from linguistics as an expression of Korean culture with respect of object and gesture analysis.

Exhibition View: Moon Jeong Min (Left), Joo Hee Chun + Jee Soo Shin (Far left, Middle), Miso Park (Far middle)

Exhibition View: Moon Jeong Min (Left), Joo Hee Chun + Jee Soo Shin (Far left, Middle), Miso Park (Far middle)

The project includes performances, conferences, workshops and videos. KAA brings together visual artists and musicians such as Ji Eun Jung celebrated interpreter of the Korean traditional harp, Se Young Jeong, Hyun Seok Kwon and the composer Tae Hwan Rho. The relationship with sound in Korean music is equivalent to the search for the essential of visual art. The relationship between the two compositions is tackled by Joo Hee Chun and Jee Soo Shin in the work White Blessing. The white thought is a sketch on a surface on which it is difficult to write notes. The musical score is a free path which extends itself on the canvass as an emanation of itself. Jee Soo Shin’s musical composition searches the primary sound which accompanies the white origin of all things.

Exhibition View: Soon Yul Kang (Right), Jeong Min Moon (Middle), See Hee Kim (Far left)

Exhibition View: Soon Yul Kang (Right), Jeong Min Moon (Middle), See Hee Kim (Far left)

Soon Yul Kang’s creative conception is based on the relationship with the invisible. The artist chose as the theme of her work the relationship between Yin / Yang and the five elements: Wood, Water, Metal, Fire and Earth. Wood and metal, which are in conflict according to the artist, become the body of the dialogue with the other elements. Soon Yul Kang expresses her idea through wooden circular shapes. The three sculptures analyse the relationship between the five elements represented chromatically by open rings. The interruption of their circularity corresponds to the question the artist asks about the energetic flows which are at the root of any life form. There is nothing more mysterious for the artist than to imagine the energy of the primary elements and reflect on their dynamics. The study is close to Delaunay who defined a chromatic symbolism with geometric forms in order to modulate the perceptive flows of sight and hence of feeling. The transformation that takes place in the retina corresponds to the same passages of the soul.

Se Hee Kim: Observation of the Invisible (left) and Cell Diary (right) (2013)

Se Hee Kim: Observation of the Invisible (left) and Cell Diary (right) (2013). Video, drawing, installation

Se Hee Kim explores the invisible through the behaviour of one’s own cells, creating an observation journal. The dynamism captured by the artist is a fractal route in which the observer loses all sense of direction!

Even though it is a real physical movement, some things which happen inside us become theoretical creativity. An example of this is the work of Seung Joon Lee and Li Ju Kim, who establish a relationship between a Korean bozagi map with the work of Mondrian. From the confrontation of these two artistic expressions which belong to different cultures and periods appears a friendly work as the artists themselves have defined it. The project is concerned with the echo of Mondrian’s map. He lived abstraction as a form of spirituality. With Broadway Boogie-Woogie (’42-43), Mondrian establishes a relationship between his work and the map of Manhattan. The line is the result of internal tensions that converge on the layout.

Sung-Hwoa Gong: Swimming Narwhal (2013).

Sung-Hwoa Gong: Swimming Narwhal (2013). Video Animation

For the artist Jeong Min Moon, the white centre crossed by black signs is the symbol of the conflictive system between dark/light, male/female, peace/war, stillness/movement, etc. The attention to some oriental philosophies has become great in the XX century as a social concern as demonstrated by Greenpeace who has commissioned the multimedia artist Sung Hwoa Gong. In the darkness of the sea, white narwhals, a symbol of the threatened arctic animals, dance a life in the round as in The Dance by Henri Matisse. The image is rich in poetry and makes one reflect on the circularity of existence that involves the life of man even in its most unexpected expressions.

Ki Hyun Kim, Eu Rim Kim, Brian Johnson & Clarence Chan: Soul Mandala Love 2-2, (2013)

Ki Hyun Kim, Eu Rim Kim, Brian Johnson & Clarence Chan: Soul Mandala Love 2-2, (2013) Mixed media on board, 240x240cm,

The Mandala of artists Ki hyun Kim, Eu rim Kim, Brian Johnson, Clarence Chan, is the result of an alliance among independent artists in the UK and Korea, it is the symbol of unity par excellence, is the harmony from which the universal good derives. The same immigration re-enters the natural transformation project, in social life this phenomenon is coloured in different values and in the individual sphere, the separation is a wound which memories maternal blessing, the search for identity alleviate and maybe even cure! The photographic work of Mi So Park builds a clear path underlined by a clear separation from the scene as indicated by two domestic colours.

Tae Hyung Kim & Ha Neul Shin: Sa-Yook-Shin, (2013).

Tae Hyung Kim & Ha Neul Shin: Sa-Yook-Shin, (2013). Photography & Oil painting,

The concept of memories and of Korean tradition is the basis for the the work by photographer Tae Hyung Kim and the visual artist Ha Neul Shin. Naming their work after the exhibition, the artists reinterpret the historical event known as The six martyred ministers or Sayuksin, who were executed in 1456 for plotting against king Sejo. The story is about a collection of poems in which the King asked them to repent. In turn, ministers had to reply with other poems. However, they refused and preferred martyrdom. The artists, through this historical example compose an invitation to tolerance. The images proposed are of a reflective or interrogative nature among architectural symbols which hint at possible openings although still closed.

Exhibition View: Eun Jung Seo Feleppa (Left), Sook Hee Kwon (Middle), Ha Neul Shin (Right)

Exhibition View: Eun Jung Seo Feleppa (Left), Sook Hee Kwon (Middle), Ha Neul Shin (Right)

Artists Eun Jung Seo Feleppa and Sook Hee Kwon revisit and interpret in a contemporary language the traditional Minwha painting which decorated Ch’aekkori screens with simple strongly evocative scenes with animals. The painting is completed with a textile art work and the sculptural insertion of a book!

The Collaboration exhibition proposes to the visitor a reality which cannot be directly visualised but which can be felt. A work of art, by definition, attempts to fulfil superior spiritual interests. The exhibition proposes with apparent simplicity forms and shades of the different realities which are the vehicle of deep concepts and notions, just as the ears or the skin allow music to flow to the mind!!

Vittoria Biasi
Art historian & Art critic

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