London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Kimchi juice: the art medium of the future – a visit to Give me Shelter at Union Gallery

Give me Shelter - Installation view
Give me Shelter – Installation view

I went to the “Give me Shelter” exhibition at the Union Gallery one lunchtime this week, as it’s only 15 minutes walk from my office. I’ll be going back again. Possibly the easiest works to relate to are the biggest and the smallest. Hyungkoo Lee‘s skeletal coyote and roadrunner occupied a whole room, atmospherically lit. As for the smallest exhibits — well, you could almost miss them: Dongwook Lee‘s tiny human figures, only a couple of inches high at most, mounted on little shelves here and there. The most sinister was a nude male figure with arms where the legs should be.

Gwon Osang: Gaze Motion (2005)
Gwon Osang: Gaze Motion (2005)

There’s some large-scale sculptural work (Osang Gwon – above) which looks like ceramics but is in fact photographic prints overlaid onto a lightweight model – creating a 3D work out of 2D images; and some I think you would call mixed media work involving a floor mop in one and running shoes and chewing gum in another. The one I’m going to go back to examine in more detail is a pair of finely-worked pencil drawings, Mutual Nest, by Hyunjhin Baik (the pair to the right of the gallery shot above): the medium? Automatic pencil and kimchi juice. I couldn’t spot the kimchi juice, which is why I need to go back. Some large scale oils by Suejin Chung (below) need to be digested further — there’s a lot going on in these works, mainly seeming to involve Koreans living on caffeine, pills and energy drinks.

Chung Sue-jin: People
Chung Sue-jin: People

I’m hoping someone more literate in the visual arts will volunteer to go along to this and write a well-informed review.

Thanks to Maja Grafe at the Union Gallery for the images.

Update 20 October 2006. I went back to the exhibition today and got talking to the organiser. The reason I couldn’t find the kimchi juice in the picture was that the descriptions were wrong. In fact the picture with the kimchi juice, Cheerer by an Instant Flame, is the one just to the right of the biggest picture in the gallery shot above. You can see some pinkish red splodges on it.

The organiser, Jari Lager, told me a little about some of the artists. They work closely together. For example, the sculpture by Osang Gwon (above) is in fact modeled on Hyungkoo Lee, while Dongwook Lee appears in one of Suejin Chung’s pictures.

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