It was good to see the KCC so busy last Saturday afternoon. The attraction was the Korean Artists Association’s one-week exhibition: Delayed Sojourn – London, home away from home. And while there was plenty to enjoy inside, it was an unusual exhibit in the window that was drawing people in: 48 small glass bowls, each containing a small goldfish.
Entering the exhibition space was a calming experience: Soon Yul Kang’s hand woven tapestry Blue Moon (2011) welcomed you on the side wall,
while beyond were works by Joo-hee Chun (her abstract work built up with layers of acrylic) and Kitty Jun-im McLaughlin (her muted paintings based on hanji and calligraphy); and further on was an installation by Bada Song:
Song’s work was a tribute to Richard Serra’s Verb List Compilation: Actions to Relate to Oneself (1967-1968)
But her work was also in part an attempt to explore the Korean language – for Korean does not have words which are the direct equivalent of some on Serra’s list, for example “entropy”.
In the opposite corner of the space was something more down-to-earth:
Jean Kim’s Naked Journey is accompanied by a verse:
Long and winding roads
Off she goes
Naked as she is
Dancing to the city rhythms
Oh, here she comes
Naked as she is
In the multi-purpose space was a video projection and sculpture by Jung-gyun Chae:
The video contained interviews with members of the public about the nature of beauty and divinity. Chae himself gave an impromptu performance at the exhibition opening, holding up a protest placard containing the words 주먹이 운다 – in homage to Ryu Seung-wan’s Crying Fist – postcards of which line the reception of the KCC since the recent retrospective at the LKFF.
Hyeonseok Lee’s digital animations of Buddhist temple construction lined the video wall facing the street. Lee has just exhibited at the exhibition at Haeinsa celebrating 1,000 years of the Tripitaka Koreana.
At the end of the wall of video screens Joon Hwan Lim’s origami boats were pinned to the wall: an attempt to encapsulate the cultural diversity you find in London as an armada of tiny ships intermingling with each other.
Miso Park’s creative photographs took a more pessimistic view of the foreigner’s life in London, focusing on solitude, anonymity and the difficulty of managing their new life. In one work, a bewildered girl holds a duvet while waist-high in water, with the London skyline in the distance.
Shera Hyunyim Park gave a more naive, pastel-coloured view of London in her Memory of Richmond Park…
…while Unmi Lee’s collages of fabric and found objects presented a lively impression of West London.
In the final room the emphasis was on the crafts.
Myung Nam An’s Eyes dominated one of the walls…
…a selection of colourful porcelain items with shiny glaze – sea anenomes, artichokes and other delicately made circular objects.
Sun Kim’s ceramics were arranged against another wall, with delicately muted colours and matte surface…
… some of the items looked as if they could almost have been made out of carefully folded paper.
In the same room was a chandelier by Soo Ji Shin…
… with wisps of polypropylene paper sewn together like sails.
Returning back to the entrance along the video wall you were faced with Yonghyun Lim’s Oak Barrel inside which kaleidoscopic designs were projected, somewhat reminiscent of the Dr Who opening title sequence.
It was the end of the afternoon, and the 48 goldfish needed to be put to bed for the night. Young children were intrigued as Hyun Jun Kim carefully netted each fish one by one, putting them in a large bucket whence they could be safely deposited in a decent sized tank overnight to get some properly oxygenated water. The installation, entitled Swarm with Me by Hyun Jun Kim and Taeyoung Kim, represents the “personal journey of finding a home in London through the repetitive process of relocation.”
Delayed Sojourn – London, home away from home only lasted for a week, until 8th December. It’s a shame it couldn’t last longer, because it contains more of interest than many of the KCC’s longer-running shows. But maybe the fish will need a rest from being constantly on show.
This review was first published on London Korean Links.