Event reports and reviews

BAP – Live at the Coronet, Elephant and Castle, 13 May 2016. Sold out – and could have been sold out three times over, from what I hear. TLDR: the venue was awful but BAP lived up to their name! Do you want the good bit or the bad bit first? I’ll get the bad […]

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The Reckitt Benckiser death campaign comes to London

by Philip Gowman 9 May 2016
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Reckitt Benckiser’s problems in Korea haven’t had much attention in the UK until recently. But a growing campaign to boycott their products in Korea, and a small group of campaigners who came over to picket the company’s annual shareholder’s meeting on 5 May, have brought the issues into the mainstream. A week ago, Reckitt Benckiser (RB) […]

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Concert notes: Joo Yeon Sir’s Festival Hall debut

by 앤서방 7 May 2016
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UK based violinist Joo Yeon Sir made a thrilling debut at The Royal Festival Hall last night. “Lament for the Valley”, a short piece for violin and orchestra, was composed for her by Karl Jenkins as part of his 2015 Music Award, in association with Classic FM. Conducted by Jenkins, Sir delivered an exhilarating, technically brilliant […]

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Lee Joon-ik’s The Throne: a familiar tale made a believable tragedy

by Philip Gowman 22 April 2016
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The first of the KCCUK’s “Teaser Screenings” for the London Korean Film Festival 2016 took place on Monday in the presence of Director Lee Joon-ik and the recently-arrived Korean ambassador. The chosen film was The Throne (사도) – a movie which was #5 in the 2015 Korean box office and deals with an incident in […]

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Last Thursday’s screening at the KCC – Sunny – was an unexpected delight

by Philip Gowman 16 April 2016
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Unexpectedly, I really enjoyed Kang Hyeong-cheol’s Sunny at the KCC this week. I shan’t bore you with the details – Paul Quinn has articulated it on Hangul Celluloid much better than I could. Based on the trailers I had been kind of expecting a bit of an offbeat teen comedy. When it featured in the […]

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Kim Kulim in London: 4’33” and the meaning of 1/24”

by Philip Gowman 14 March 2016
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One of the highlights of the two-day focus on Korean artist films at Tate Modern was the opportunity to meet veteran avant-garde artist Kim Kulim. Kim was a leading experimental artist who first achieved prominence in the 1960s, exploring new frontiers such as performance, mail art and land art as well as experimental film. “I do […]

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Exhibition visit: Bates’s Room – Shin Kiwoun at the Old Police Station

by Philip Gowman 13 March 2016
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The Old Police Station in Deptford is an interesting, slightly claustrophobic space for exhibiting art. A reception area with, behind, four gloomy holding cells whose walls are clad in ceramic tiles. Given the lack of light, it’s particularly suitable for showing video works. And the oppressive atmosphere was particularly suited to Shin Kiwoun’s  theme which, […]

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APPG provides summary of their conference on violence against women

by Philip Gowman 12 March 2016
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The All Party Parliamentary Group on North Korea has published a brief write-up of their conference on violence against women and girls in North Korea, which was held on 22 February in the Houses of Parliament. They hope to upload the conference papers in due course. The report includes photos of the event by the […]

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Video: Living Statue “Comfort Women” protest outside Tate Modern

by Philip Gowman 6 March 2016
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Braving the cold and rain, the living statue demonstration proceeded yesterday in front of Tate Modern. LKL arrived too late to take any photos, but above is one of the official photos and, below, a video of the protest. Links: justice4comfortwomenuk.wordpress.com

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KFA holds protest outside the US embassy

by Philip Gowman 6 March 2016
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LKL wandered past the American Embassy yesterday afternoon to see the supporters the UK Korean Friendship Association who were protesting against the annual ROK-US joint military exercises. It will be remembered that the DPRK view of these exercises is that they are offensive, not defensive. Conveniently, the KFA published a press release about the demonstration. […]

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Exhibition visit: Yiyun Kang’s Casting, at the V+A

by Philip Gowman 22 February 2016
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Yiyun Kang’s Casting installation, in which she projects lighting effects with pinpoint accuracy onto the complex 3-dimensional surfaces of Roman and medieval sculptures, is a slightly eerie and a very special experience. The technique, known called projection-mapping, requires painstaking measurements of the target surface to be taken, to ensure that the projection is not distorted by […]

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Why Han Kang’s Human Acts is likely to be my book of the year

by Philip Gowman 17 February 2016
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Han Kang: Human Acts Translated by Deborah Smith Portobello Books, 2016, 224pp Originally published as 소년이 온다, Changbi Publishers Inc, Seoul, 2014 Han Kang’s Human Acts hits the bookshelves in the UK just as The Vegetarian starts to make waves in the US. The latter book has already made its mark in the UK, making […]

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Exhibition visit: Noh Suntag at 43 Inverness Street and Fitzrovia Gallery

by Philip Gowman 15 February 2016
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In his written introduction to the two parallel exhibitions at 43 Inverness Street and the Fitzrovia Gallery, Noh Suntag says “I am exploring how the Korean War lives and breathes in contemporary Korean society. I glare at the space where divided powers manipulate the war and division at will, treating them as a chapter of […]

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Exhibition visit: a brief walk round London Art Fair 2016

by Philip Gowman 31 January 2016
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No matter how well you prepare yourself for an art fair, you are bound to be caught unawares as you follow your planned route from stall to stall. In our visit of course we focused on Skipwiths, Shine and Hanmi, but elsewhere we came across the established photographer Boomoon showing at Flowers Gallery, and emerging […]

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Exhibition visit: Junebum Park’s Maths Test work-in-progress

by Philip Gowman 21 January 2016
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At Tonbridge school, visitors have been privileged to see the work in progress of Korean video artist Junebum Park. And pupils have been privileged to be subjects, almost like laboratory rats, in his latest work. Park is known, among other things, for his Puzzle series, in which students are filmed from above as they struggle […]

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Theatre review: In-Sook Chappell — P’yongyang

by Philip Gowman 18 January 2016
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After Mia Chung’s You For Me For You at the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, which finished on 9 January, it was a relief to sit down to a play where you could believe in the characters and enjoy natural dialogue that you could imagine people uttering in real life. The production, in a room above an […]

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Theatre Review: Mia Chung’s You for Me for You

by Philip Gowman 15 January 2016
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I’m not quite sure what it was about You For Me For You that had me squirming uncomfortably in my seat after a few minutes – a condition in which I stayed for the remainder of the play. I don’t think it was the subject matter: the tales of hardship in North Korea outside of […]

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