Back in February, the British Council announced the various cultural events taking place in Korea as part of the UK/Korea season of cultural exchange. The first of the reciprocal events, the launch of the Korea/UK season, took place in the V&A last week with the launch of the Contemporary Korean Ceramics exhibition, with the upcoming poetry collaboration in June as the second public event.

Here is the KCCUK’s announcement of the visual arts programme which gives us an idea of what to expect over the coming year. I’m assuming there will be one or more separate announcements to cover other events, for example in the performing arts space.

Korean Cultural Centre UK announces the visual arts programme for the Korea/UK season 2017-2018

KCC exterior

The outside of the KCCUK during Lee Bul’s 2014 Artist of the Year exhibition (photo: KCCUK)

The Korean Cultural Centre UK (KCCUK) is proud to announce the visual arts programme for the Korea/UK season, running from July 2017 – July 2018. Twenty institutions including organisations in London, Bristol, Gateshead, Liverpool and Sheffield will host exhibitions, performances, public installations, workshops and residencies from leading and emerging contemporary Korean artists and producers. Across retrospective exhibitions – exploring seminal moments in contemporary Korean art – and brand new commissions, the season sees Korean creatives working alongside their UK peers, in order to survey some of the most influential and foremost Korean art to date.

Initiated with KCCUK’s forthcoming exhibition Rehearsals from the Korean Avant-Garde Performance Archive, performance art plays a significant role throughout the season’s programme. In September, the internationally acclaimed Scottish artist Douglas Gordon will premiere THIN AIR, a video and performance work commissioned by Locus+. Featuring two Korean figures undergoing the intensely physical and intimate process of being tattooed, the work explores the notion of the body as a territory. With musical accompaniments by Korean composers and musicians, THIN AIR will subsequently be presented in galleries and theatres in various locations across the UK, Korea and internationally.

KCCUK’s annual Artist of the Year exhibition in September will be presented in collaboration with Spike Island, Bristol; both institutions will join forces to showcase two complementary exhibitions of work by Kim Yong-ik. Referred to as a post-Dansaekhwa generation artist, Kim’s work holds a special place in Korean modern art history, and has been cited by critics as heralding “the beginning of contemporary Korean art”.

Alongside running an in-house programme dedicated to the season, KCCUK will also support and co-produce external projects. This includes a new public sculpture by leading South Korean artist Suh Do-ho , as part of the UK’s annual Art Night festival. Known for his architecturally scaled works, Suh Do-ho’s installation responds to the rich and layered history of immigration within London’s East End. Located in the City of London, the commission will be unveiled later in the season and will remain onsite for up to eleven months.

Further highlights of the Korea/UK season programme include:

  1. Studio Bursary Award at SPACE Studios, London and KCCUK, London
    September 2017 – August 2018 (Exhibition at KCCUK)
  2. Jeong Geumhyung at Delfina Foundation, London
    11 September 2017 (Performance at KCCUK)
    28 September – 11 November 2017 (Exhibition at Delfina Foundation)
  3. Frieze Project with Moon Kyungwon & Jeon Joonho at Frieze London
    2 – 8 October 2017
  4. Korea-UK Ceramics Residency at V&A, London
    19 May 2017 – 11 February 2018 (Exhibition at V&A)
  5. Rhii Jewyo & Jung Jihyun at The Showroom, London
    5 December 2017 – 22 January 2018
  6. Hong Young-in at Spacex, Exeter, Exeter Phoenix and KCCUK, London
    20 November – 22 December 2017 (Exhibition at KCCUK)
    23 February – 21 April 2018 (Exhibition at Exeter Phoenix)
  7. Suki Seokyeong Kang new commission and artist residencies for Liverpool Biennial 2018
    14 July – 28 October 2018
  8. Gu Minja at Gasworks, London
    Exhibition TBC
  9. Artist Residencies at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead; Castlefield Gallery, Manchester; Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT), Liverpool; Grizedale Arts, Cumbria; New Art Exchange, Nottingham; Site Gallery, Sheffield; Spike Island, Bristol; Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridgeshire
    2017 – 2018
  10. Midlands Korea Season at New Art Exchange, Nottingham and Eastside Projects, Birmingham
    November – December 2017
  11. Kim Yunchul, new commission and artist residencies at FACT, Liverpool and CERN, Geneva
    2017 – 2018

An information booklet will accompany the Korea/UK Season, and will be available at all participating institutions as well as via kccuk.org.uk.

The Korea/UK season runs parallel to the UK/Korea season which takes place in Korea, and is supported by the British Council. Both seasons endeavour to strengthen the relationship between the two countries and form new cultural and creative partnerships.

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