Philip Gowman

Tonight’s documentary on the assassination of Kim Jong-nam is well worth a watch. In its 59 minutes there was hardly any padding and I didn’t notice any of the usual platitudes. It was full of content, and while I would have liked a bit more time on the China angle, that would have pushed it […]

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August events 2017

by Philip Gowman 1 August 2017
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The main focus is on Edinburgh this month, with twenty Korean acts performing at the Fringe throughout the month and Hwang Sok-yong appearing at the book festival on 16 August. In London: Exhibitions The KCC’s exhibition Rehearsals from the Korean Avant-Garde Performance Archive lasts until 19 August; Through their eyes: depicting Korea and UK then […]

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Korean culture gets more mainstream (and what it means for LKL)

by Philip Gowman 31 July 2017
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A week or so ago Time Out, London’s leading event listings magazine, asked its readers to recommend their favourite Korean places in London and New Malden. I passed it on to the LKL Facebook Group without giving it much further thought, vaguely interested that the survey was in progress, interested also in the knowledgeable responses […]

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Fringe 2017: two early recommendations

by Philip Gowman 30 July 2017
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To help give a taste of the range of Korean talent at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, the KCC hosted a showcase of four of the acts, at the Lilian Baylis Studio. Of these, the stand-out performances were Behind the Mirror and Black and White Tea Room — Counsellor. LKL went along to the event hoping […]

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K-music 2017 – an introduction to this year’s programme

by Philip Gowman 22 July 2017
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This year’s K-music festival is the biggest yet, with nine concerts lined up for the series, and with only one act which could be described as from the mainstream indie world, the programme promises to be the most interesting yet. As is fitting in the year of UK-Korea cultural collaboration, many of the concerts this […]

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An introduction to the July / August season of films at the KCC

by Philip Gowman 15 July 2017
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Kim Hong-joon’s My Korean Cinema, which screened as part of the documentary strand of the 2016 London Korean Film Festival, provides the inspiration and structure for the July / August season of films at the KCC, curated by students from the MA Film Programming and Curating course at Birkbeck. They provide the background below: Patchworks […]

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Film review: Hur Jin-ho’s Season of Good Rain

by Philip Gowman 12 July 2017
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How reassuring it is, after the disappointment that was Bong Joon-ho’s Okja, to find that there are still directors out there who can serve up what you expect. Maybe that’s a bad thing: maybe you need to be surprised every now and then. On the other hand, there’s no shame in wanting a dose of […]

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Through Their Eyes exhibition opens in Kingston Museum

by Philip Gowman 7 July 2017
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Kingston Museum’s exhibition devoted to Korean viewpoints on the UK and foreigner’s views on Korea opened last night with speeches from the Mayor, the Ambassador and the curator Seoyoung Kim (who bravely hosted the event despite being on crutches from a recent injury). Hyelim Kim endured the intense heat in the upstairs exhibition space to […]

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Film review: Okja — It’s really rather disappointing

by Philip Gowman 7 July 2017
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“Our super-pigs will not only be big and beautiful; they will also leave a minimal footprint on the environment, consume less feed, and produce less [sic] excretions.” Don’t you just hate it when you’re really looking forward to a movie, really hoping and expecting to enjoy it, and it turns out to be a big […]

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July events 2017

by Philip Gowman 1 July 2017
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The headline event this month is the London Korean Festival at Olympia, featuring four K-pop groups and some more traditional fare too. And there’s plenty else happening throughout the month, of which for me the highlights are Han Yujoo talking about her Impossible Fairy Tale, and a new performance art work from Park Bong-su. Film […]

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Exhibition visit: Contemporary Korean Ceramics at the V+A

by Philip Gowman 26 June 2017
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This year-long exhibition as part of the Korea/UK 2017-18 cultural collaboration brings together a range of approaches and responses to Korean ceramics. From work that is purely functional to work that is purely decorative, via work that seeks to critique contemporary Korean society, the unifying element is the quality of the craftsmanship and execution. Yoon […]

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Hurricane Kimchi appears on BBC World News

by Philip Gowman 17 June 2017
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Heezy Yang, the South Korean artist, performer and activist, is also known for his fabulous alter-ego, the drag queen Hurricane Kimchi. Currently in London for the Queer Asia conference at SOAS where he is performing alongside Chinese feminist and LGBTQ activist Whiskey Chow, he appeared on BBC World News yesterday: Yang has illustrated several LGBT […]

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Exhibition visit: Haenyeo, Women of the Sea, at National Maritime Museum

by Philip Gowman 14 June 2017
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The National Maritime Museum, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Maritime Greenwich, played host to an exhibition featuring South Korea’s latest inclusion in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. Life-size photographs of Jeju’s famous diving women were dotted around a building which began life in 1807 as a school for the children of British seafarers. […]

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An evening with Michael Breen and The New Koreans

by Philip Gowman 13 June 2017
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When going to a book talk, it is all too common to find that the moderator has little knowledge of the book or its subject matter, and asks the author embarrassingly shallow questions leaving the audience and author short-changed. No such risks last night at the KCC, where the British Korean Society’s Chris Hollands conversed […]

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Young In Hong’s 5100: Pentagon

by Philip Gowman 10 June 2017
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Here are a few photos and a video from the two performances of Young In Hong’s work 5100: Pentagon on 4 June 2017 in the courtyard of the Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly. The performers were all volunteers, of whom fewer turned up than expected because of the terrorist incident in the London bridge […]

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June events 2017

by Philip Gowman 1 June 2017
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A busy and varied month of events: Exhibitions The V&A’s exhibition of Contemporary Korean Ceramics lasts until 2018. Han Collection’s exhibition of buncheong ceramics lasts until 3 June. Their subsequent exhibition, Paper Man, opens on 6 June, lasting until 21 June. The KCCUK’s ceramics exhibition – Between Serenity and Dynamism – also closes on 3 […]

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Lord Alton on North Korean human rights and more

by Philip Gowman 30 May 2017
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Those of you attending one of the DPRK Youth Para-Ensemble performances, or planning to go to the seminar at SOAS tomorrow, may want to read Lord Alton’s hard-hitting op ed in the Korea JoongAng Daily from two weeks ago (18 May). Much as we would be heartened to see genuine progress in the treatment of […]

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