Event reports and reviews

Korean acts coming to the Fringe have often majored on the non-verbal: percussion, taekwondo, comedy, physical theatre, music and dance. Last year, with Othello – Two Men, we discovered that more traditional theatre, heavy on text, can work well despite the language barrier – provided surtitles are visible. This year the Korean contingent was bolder […]

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Edinburgh Fringe visit: A Walk in the Dust

by Philip Gowman 16 August 2014
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When a play is put on for only one performance at the Fringe, you wonder what is going on. When it’s a Korean performance, and the date chosen is August 15th, National Liberation Day, the day on which Korea was freed from Japanese rule in 1945, the choice of “one day only” makes more sense. […]

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Im Kwon-taek: In search of perfection

by Philip Gowman 5 August 2014
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As the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon approach, LKL is finally spurred to write up some archive notes of interviews and Q&A’s with the director of their Opening Ceremony… “Why are you torturing me?” was Im Kwon-taek’s heartfelt cry when attending a screening of one of his films from the 1960s at a 70-film retrospective […]

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The experience of North Koreans in New Malden

by Philip Gowman 30 July 2014
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A panel session about the experiences of North Korean defectors in New Malden is at first sight a strange event to promote as part of an arts festival. But the 7th New Malden Arts Festival overlaps with Malden Fortnight, a celebration of New Malden’s varied community, of which Koreans are of course a significant part. […]

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Edinburgh Fringe Preview: Brush – a charming piece of theatre for children

by Philip Gowman 29 July 2014
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Last year at the Fringe we had Climb a Willow to the Sea God’s Palace, a lovely 45-minute performance from Kkumdongi Puppet Theatre telling a Korean fable using puppetry and painting geared towards a younger audience. This year for the younger festival-goers we will have Theatre Haddangse performing Brush. The company gave a special preview […]

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Report from the KCC Artist Talk: Shakespeare interpretations in East Asia

by Shouvik Datta 28 July 2014
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I hadn’t been to any of the events for Seoul in the City, part of this year’s City of London festival. The symposium at London’s Korean Cultural Centre for Shakespeare’s plays in contemporary East Asian languages seemed particularly interesting to me. My previous experience of Shakespeare in East Asia was confined to Ran, Akira Kurosawa’s […]

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Exhibition visit: Jeehee Park — Elephant in the Room, at Hanmi Gallery

by Philip Gowman 27 July 2014
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If you haven’t been to Hanmi Gallery to see Jeehee Park’s Elephant in the Room, it could well be that you are too late. Although the exhibition is due to close on 3 August, the nature of the work is not ideally suited to the hottest days of the year. The main installation in the […]

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Exhibition visit: MFA Degree show at Goldsmiths

by Philip Gowman 21 July 2014
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It’s not always easy to get to the degree shows of the various art colleges, but I managed to sneak away from work one lunchtime and pop down to New Cross Gate to take a few installation shots at the Goldsmiths MFA 2014 degree show. Four Korean artists were showing, and I was lucky enough […]

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Exhibition visit: Kwon Soonhak at UNION Gallery

by Philip Gowman 13 July 2014
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This is an exhibition whose accompanying essay says it all. So often the blurb which goes with an exhibition is incomprehensible. Union has done it exactly right with this particular essay. The altarpiece which is the subject of the work Ecce Homo is from All Souls Langham Place, where the artist sings in the choir. […]

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Andersen’s Gazes – an outstanding fusion of body, image and sound

by Colette Balmain 3 July 2014
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Andersen’s Gazes is the second in a series of collaborations between Lee Kyung-ok Dance Company and pop artist Mari Kim. The first, The Boy in the Red Shoes, was performed at KB Haneul Youth Theatre in November 2013. The Boy in the Red Shoes was created by the National Dance Company of Korea, and choreographed […]

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UK-Korea Relations – A Talk by Thomas Harris KBE

by Matthew Jackson 2 July 2014
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The talk on UK-Korea relations by Sir Thomas Harris KBE CMG, held at Gresham College on Friday 27th of June, was both a stimulating and ultimately uplifting account of the diplomatic and economic interactions between the two countries before and after the Korean War. Amongst his various international posts as a businessman and diplomat, Sir […]

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Killer creativity at the RCA graduate show

by Philip Gowman 27 June 2014
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A quick tour of the Royal College of Art degree show last weekend showed just how many Korean artists and designers there are in London. I had gone along to see the work of a handful of friends whose work I had got to know through various exhibitions over the past couple of years, and […]

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Exhibition visit: Kim Hayoung’s degree show

by Philip Gowman 20 June 2014
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Kim Hayoung’s work grows on me each time I see it. And while I enjoy seeing work exhibited in a domestic setting (such as 43 Inverness Street, where Kim has had two solo shows already), it was also good to see it in a huge, well-lit exhibition space. The big work painted in acrylic on […]

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Exhibition visit: Lee Jae-hyo — Grass Flower, at HADA Contemporary

by Philip Gowman 13 June 2014
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“I want to make a work that does not require words… I think the greatest difference in the western and the eastern culture is the necessity for words. The key characteristic of the western visual culture is the debate, argument and attestation and to unravel the meaning carefully hidden behind the work. On the contrary, […]

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Friday Late at the V&A – a fun evening of cultural collision

by Philip Gowman 31 May 2014
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Are the British becoming more Korean? That was the rather silly thought that occurred to me as I walked round the energetic space of the V&A yesterday evening for the Korea Friday Late. What do I mean by that? Well, at every expo or festival in Korea the emphasis is on physical experience. You can’t […]

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Exhibition visit: Above the line — photographs from the DPRK at the British Council

by Philip Gowman 29 May 2014
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There must have been a time when photographs of the DPRK were a rarity. But it’s now a regular occurrence for a newspaper to run a series of photographs from North Korea, normally proclaiming that these are unique, never-before seen images from “the world’s most secretive state”. It is perhaps natural for photographers to seek […]

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Gong Ji-young on tuna sandwiches, Jane Eyre and manual labour

by Philip Gowman 27 May 2014
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Gong Ji-young was passing through London on her way to the Hay Literary Festival. Saturday would involve dinner with Stephen Fry as president of the Festival, together with other authors. Sunday morning, hopefully without a hangover, she would be sharing the stage with British author Ned Beauman in a conversation with Granta online poetry editor […]

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