Event reports and reviews

The South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se had a busy Wednesday last week as part of a three-day visit to the UK. According to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release, top of the agenda was the first annual Strategic Dialogue meeting between the two countries agreed during President Park’s state visit last year. The […]

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LKFF 2014: the conversations

by Philip Gowman 23 November 2014
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The London Korean Film Festival is not just about getting acquainted with the latest in Korean movies. It is also an opportunity to meet some of the people behind those movies – actors, directors and producers. Opportunities for engaging with these film professionals vary: for an ever-growing group of aficionados there is the offer of round-table […]

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Festival Film Review: Hwajang / Revivre

by Philip Gowman 17 November 2014
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Well, I was right. Ahn Sung-ki confessed in the Q+A which followed the screening of Hwajang that one of his most difficult tasks in portraying Oh Sang-moo, a senior executive in a cosmetics company, was to project certain aspects of being old – of being blocked inside because of the swollen prostate, of being more […]

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North Korean artists paint London scenes, on show at the DPRK embassy

by Philip Gowman 7 November 2014
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Seven years ago, artists from Pyongyang’s Mansudae Studios came to London with a wide range of works in a variety of genres. There were ceramics, oils, chosonhwa, embroidery, and of course the images that caught everyone’s attention: the propaganda posters. The location was opposite the Institute of Directors in Pall Mall. This week, a different […]

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Exhibition visits: Lee Bul at Ikon Gallery (Birmingham) and the KCC

by Philip Gowman 28 October 2014
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Lee Bul has been having a busy year. A solo show in New York in May / June; two new large-scale installations at MMCA Seoul from the end of September; and at the same time a travelling show in Europe which stopped off at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, with a parallel site-specific commission in the Korean Cultural […]

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Korea’s Economy in Transition – a report from the recent evening at Asia House

by Philip Gowman 24 October 2014
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Sometimes, when you go along to an evening talk, you are looking forward to the networking rather than the substance of what the speakers will be saying. Perhaps you think you won’t learn much, and you’re going along out of a vague sense of duty, because other people will expect you to be there. Well, […]

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Seven ways in which Hill of Freedom is different from other Hong Sang-soo films

by Philip Gowman 11 October 2014
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… and some ways in which it isn’t. Hill of Freedom (자유의 언덕) is Hong Sang-soo’s 16th feature, and could not have been made by anyother director. The awkwardness of human interaction and conversation, the bonding over alcohol, the fragmentation of the narrative, the aim to rekindle lost love – all are common features of […]

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Korea Chronicles – the video of the opening performance

by Philip Gowman 11 October 2014
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Here is a video of the opening performance of the Korea Chronicles residency at the KCC, by Jason Verney of Native Nomad Pictures. The performance was on 12 August 2014. As Jason comments: This film features the performances and concert in its entirety, along with added extras – the preparation beforehand, the artwork associated with […]

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Concert review: Ensemble Sinawi at the City of London Festival

by Philip Gowman 10 October 2014
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How can you adequately describe a gig which touched the highs and lows of human emotion? There were times when the melody sung by the voice or ajaeng had a searing, heart rending intensity which brought a lump to the throat and tears to the eye; and then in the next piece the toes would […]

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Exhibition visit: Constancy and Change in Korean Traditional Craft

by Philip Gowman 8 October 2014
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Nothing prepared you for the sight that greeted you when you entered the room containing the Korean crafts at Tent London. As you were wandering past the various stalls in the main part of the exhibition displaying contemporary crafts from around the world on your way to the “Constancy and Change” room, you might have […]

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K-Drama week: Yang Yun-ho, IRIS, and the current state of Korean drama

by Philip Gowman 6 October 2014
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The KCCUK’s K-Drama week included the opportunity to meet the director of one of Korea’s most successful TV dramas of recent years, IRIS, which has been screened in 26 countries and brings film-like tension to the small screen. Director Yang Yun-ho gave a talk on the current state of Hallyu at SOAS, and participated in […]

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Cho Young-wuk on waltzes, playgrounds and working with Park Chan-wook

by Philip Gowman 5 October 2014
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So much has changed over the past few years. Nearly 10 years ago Asia House organised the London premiere screening of Lady Vengeance including a Q&A with the director, Park Chan-wook. It was hard not to squirm in embarrassment at the shallowness of some of the questions from the audience, and the moderator could have […]

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The Massive reports from this week’s UKISS gig

by Philip Gowman 28 September 2014
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Many of us were torn on Wednesday between the IRIS screening with Q&A at the Curzon Soho and the UKISS concert at the Forum. Those who chose to go to screening instead of the gig should see what they missed by reading the Korean Class Massive’s review of the evening. They’ve got some great photos […]

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Shin Dong-hyuk: “passionate human rights campaigner and an ordinary young man”

by Youngeun Koo 22 September 2014
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Youngeun Koo reports from the first of EAHRNK’s “North Korean Memoirs” events. On Tuesday 16 September, the UK had the rare opportunity to meet Shin Dong-hyuk in person. Shin is so far the only person known to have successfully escaped from Camp 14, a ‘total control camp’ in North Korea. Organised by European Alliance for […]

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A look at the contemporary Korean designers at Tent London 2014

by Philip Gowman 21 September 2014
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Four Korean design studios came to Tent London this year. There’s a gallery of their stalls at the bottom of this brief post. Zeup Design Studio presented some colourful pens which looked like pieces of lemongrass, while Kim HyunJoo Studio presented pens that also doubled as clips and as bookmarks. It was a shame the […]

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A look at some of the Korean design on show at 100% Design London 2014

by Philip Gowman 19 September 2014
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There may not be a Korean Pavilion at 100% Design London this year, but you don’t have to walk far from the central bar area of Earls Court 2 to find Korean designers. Just take one pace the other side of the bar and you come across Kim Been’s stall, Beeeen Company, with her range […]

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Exhibition visit: Jewyo Rhii at Wilkinson Gallery

by Philip Gowman 16 September 2014
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Shamefully, I’ve never visited Wilkinson Gallery before. If I had, maybe I wouldn’t have been so bowled over by Sung Hwan Kim’s installation in the Tate Modern Tanks a couple of years ago, because Kim had already had two solo shows at Wilkinson which contained some of the work shown at the Tate. So, will […]

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