Event reports and reviews

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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A surviving victim’s view on the Korea-Japan Comfort Women “deal”

by 앤서방 30 December 2015
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In September this year 90 year old survivor of WW2 Japanese military sexual slavery Kim Bok-dong gave two public talks in London, at the Korean Cultural Centre and at Goldsmiths University. She said she had come, ‘not as a victim but as a human rights activist’, and explained that the surviving ladies were not just […]

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Exhibition visit: Korean artists at APT8

by Philip Gowman 28 December 2015
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The Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) has been hosting the Asia Pacific Triennial since 1993. The exhibition features artists from all over the region, and Korea has been represented from the start. The triennial is spread over two buildings (the QAG itself and the nearby Gallery of Modern Art which opened in 2006) which collectively are […]

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Festival Film Review: Lee Kwang-guk focus

by Philip Gowman 23 November 2015
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If I had seen no other films at the 2015 London Korean Film Festival, the evenings of films by Lee Kwang-guk would have made the whole festival worthwhile. The first evening featured his second film, the short Hard to Say (2013), along with his debut feature Romance Joe (2012), while the second evening followed up […]

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