Event reports and reviews

When going along to an exhibition of work by North Korean artists you’re not quite sure what to expect. David Heather’s collection that was exhibited at La Galleria in 2007 had something for all tastes, including propaganda posters; a genre, influenced by western painting styles, that might be dismissed as Juche kitsch; and Chosonwha, which […]

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Exhibition visit: Suh Do-ho — Passage/s

by Philip Gowman 19 March 2017
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Visiting the Suh Do-ho solo show at Victoria Miro gallery is a very British experience. You queue to get in the front door, queue in the back yard to get to the second exhibition space and, once admitted to this gallery you queue again to get up close to the main exhibit. In the dozen […]

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LKL’s evening with Zion.T in Kentish Town

by Philip Gowman 19 February 2017
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On the very rare occasions when I go to a big popular music concert I usually end up wondering why. A couple of years ago I queued for ages to get into the cheap seats (£77) for Big Bang’s gig in Wembley Arena. At least they didn’t have a support act, and worked hard to […]

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Exhibition visit: KAA residency — I, Kid

by Philip Gowman 19 February 2017
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For their January 2017 exhibition and performance at the KCC, the Korean Artists Association chose nostalgia for childhood as their theme. The text which follows is from the exhibition catalogue, with installation shots mainly by LKL. I, Kid. 우리어릴적 Childhood memories are special to all of us. They do not disappear, but are planted in […]

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Festival Film review: Spirit’s Homecoming

by Philip Gowman 27 December 2016
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With the signing of the Comfort Women “deal” between Japan and South Korea in December 2015 – a deal signed without consulting the victims themselves – the issue of the wartime sex slaves once again came to the fore. While the inter-governmental negotiators were reaching the final stages of their deal-making, Cho Jung-rae’s long-term project […]

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K-music review: Darkness Poomba at The Place, Euston

by Philip Gowman 22 December 2016
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For the final event of K-Music 2016 we were introduced to the first UK visit of Modern Table headed by the multi-talented Kim Jae-duk, who choreographed the work as well as being an integral member of the dance troupe, though much of the time he was also front of stage singing or playing various wind […]

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Gig review: Asian Chairshot + Danpyunsun and the Sailors @ RichMix

by 앤서방 20 December 2016
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앤서방 reviews the second of 2016’s K-music festival gigs at Rich Mix  Each year I look forward to visits from Korean indie musicians to the UK. Starting with ska-punk rabble rousers Crying Nut’s thrilling London show in 2006, over the years we have been treated to some of the most interesting, exciting and original acts: […]

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In praise of Sancho and Flat Three

by Philip Gowman 5 December 2016
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When you tuck into your bowl of warming chueotang muddy loach soup, with its tangle of green vegetables, shoots and mysterious fishy bits suspended in a tangy reddish-green-brown broth, the condiment you reach for to give it that extra taste sensation is a liberal sprinkling of sancho powder. The pungent, fragrant taste rounds out a […]

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Festival film review: Yourself and Yours

by Robert Cottingham 18 November 2016
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Hong Sang-soo (홍상수) Yourself and Yours (당신 자신과 당신의 것, 2016) Review by Robert Cottingham. You can tell from the opening titles exactly the kind of film this is going to be. Black Korean calligraphy on a white background suggests an intelligent and possibly artistic film and the lively classical music hints at a sophisticated comedy on […]

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BFI Festival Film Review: Na Hong-jin’s The Wailing

by Philip Gowman 16 November 2016
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Na Hong-jin can sure put you through a mental wringer. Mysterious and very bloody murders, extremely nasty skin conditions: who or what is to blame? The choice seems to be between a mind-altering magic mushroom concoction and a strange Japanese guy who lives in the forest, fishing and living off the land. And what of […]

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Review: Bongsu Park’s Crossing Over – Ritual of Grief

by Philip Gowman 14 November 2016
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Bongsu Park’s two-part work, Crossing Over – Ritual of Grief, is an ambitious piece lasting for almost two hours which saw its first performance spread over two weekends in two different locations during August. It blends contemporary electronic music with traditional Korean music, and contemporary dance with traditional Korean dance such as Salpuri. Appropriately enough […]

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Festival report: Park Hong-min Q+A after the screening of “A Fish”

by Robert Cottingham 12 November 2016
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Park Hong-Min was in London yesterday for a 3-D showing of his first film A Fish (2011). He gave a short Q-and-A after the screening. Transcribed by Robert Cottingham. Tony Rayns: I’ll get things going. I take it this film is not based on your own experience? Park Hong-min: Yes, it’s definitely not based on […]

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Brief festival film review: Eoh Woo Dong

by Robert Cottingham 11 November 2016
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Lee Chang-ho (이장호) Eoh Woo Dong (어우동, 1985, 110 mins). Review by Robert Cottingham. Eoh Woo Dong translates as “entertainer,” a rough approximation of the duties of 14th-century Korean courtesan Eoh Yoon Chang. After a lifetime “in service,” Eoh Yoon Chang retires to a faraway village. Meanwhile, her powerful father, ashamed of his daughter’s lifestyle, […]

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Gig Review: Kyungso Park and Andy Sheppard in the Albert Hall’s Elgar Room

by Philip Gowman 9 November 2016
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Recent collaborations between British and Korean musicians have not always been successful. A planned experiment between jazz trumpeter Guy Barker and Samulnori founder Kim Duk-soo never happened because the latter went awol when Barker came to visit. Instead, having already been booked for the 2008 Dano Festival in Trafalgar Square, Barker appeared briefly on stage […]

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Brief Festival Film Review: Kai

by Robert Cottingham 8 November 2016
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Lee Sung-gang (이성강): Kai (카이, 2016, 96 mins) Review by Robert Cottingham Snow Queen Hattan casts a spell over the peaceful village where Kai lives, and covers everything in ice. The River Spirit who is the protector of the village gives the brave young Kai the only key to fighting off Hattan and asks him […]

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Festival film review: Crush and Blush

by Robert Cottingham 7 November 2016
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Lee Kyoung-mi (이경미): Crush and Blush (미쓰 홍당무, 2008) Review by Robert Cottingham. Right near the beginning of Crush and Blush, the main character Mi-seok stands digging a deep hole in a schoolyard. I thought that it was a punishment used in South Korean schools, but if not it could be a visual metaphor for […]

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Festival film review: The Truth Beneath

by Robert Cottingham 6 November 2016
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Lee Kyoung-mi (이경미): The Truth Beneath (비밀은 없다, 2016) Review by Robert Cottingham Lee Kyoung-mi got her start in films working with Park Chan-wook, and from watching this film it seems she has taken his lead when it comes to violent revenge. When a politician’s daughter goes missing the scandal threatens to upset his ambitions […]

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