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Cold Cell in the Old Police Station

Notice of an interesting exhibition put on by the Union Gallery.

19 December 2009 – 10 January 2010
UNION at the OLD POLICE STATION, 114 Amersham Street, London SE14 6LG


The exhibition will take place in the prison cells and ground floor gallery space of a now disused police station. Like the title already suggests, the meaning of the show is derived from the harsh interrogation techniques that have been officially authorized since the dramatic events of September 11, 2001. The Cold Cell is one of those six interrogation techniques; the prisoner is left to stand naked in a cell kept at 50 ˚F. The exhibition aims to address the work of Korean artists that have in some respect worked in themes that deal with isolation, estrangement and global conflict. The exhibition will showcase works by eight Korean artists who live and work in Seoul, London, and Berlin.

HAM JIN (b.1978) is known for his installation of miniature sculptures as well as his drawings and photography. His miniature works stem from his ‘childhood memory”. He works with clay that he played with while he was waiting for his mother as a young child. The small figures seem fun and playful when we see them from a distance but have on closed inspection grotesque characteristics. Ham’s work presents a portrait of modern people thrown into physical but also mental isolation.

KANG EEMYUN (b.1981) draws things between the boundaries of creation and extinction, questioning fundamental truths. Her strong and vigorous brushwork evokes the gesture of traditional Korean-oriental ink application. Kang is interested in allowing the imaginary to remain in flux between two different stages of being. Abstraction and figuration, subject and object, nature and mythology are suspended in a state of perpetual becoming and metamorphosis.

KWON SOONHAK (b.1979) has been presenting ‘Hyper-space’. At a glance, the scenes look highly realistic although a multi-view found in the photographs is the focal point of his work. By doing so, he provides to viewers an experience of virtual reality.

MOON KYUNGWON (b.1969) focuses on ‘landscapes’ in nature mixed with objects resulting from man’s interaction with his inhabited space. MOON’s work contains a political dimension that addresses a vision of the social context produced by humans and the energy they create in a specific time and space. The artist uses media technology in the same way as she works with drawing.


SEO (b.1977) assimilates Asian philosophy with the Neo-expressionism by attaching Korean traditional paper (hanji), torn with the artist’s hands, onto the surface of the canvas. She uses 500 colours hanji for her medium as if it was oil colour pigment. After painting on large canvas, Seo then starts attaching hanji densely; finally, she paints again with acrylics, representing oriental brush strokes.

SHIN YOUNGMI (b.1979) is a Korean artist, known for images of self-portraits bound by plaited hairs. In her paintings, naked women that resemble the artist herself repeatedly appear. Shin deals with her identity, and personal stories of her growing up to an individual. The works consequently remind us of the Narcissus myth. Shin’s use of pastel colors and emphasis on planes create unrealistic atmospheres, which make viewers feel like they are in a fairy tale or dream.

YEE SOOKYUNG (b.1963) works in sculpture and drawing. A ceramic vessel is broken up into fragments, it can no longer rely on its function as a useful object and thus has become obsolete and something completely other. Many artists today have considered the problem of the encounter between religion and art; she is a rare artist who creates works of the self and of the other at the same time.

YU JINYOUNG (b.1977) works’ reveal the loneliness and coldness with which people in modern society inevitably confront themselves. In other words, Yu’s work deals with the matter of isolation and individualism in a modern society. The transparent body indicates anonymity and emptiness, disguised in splendid decorations.

The show is curated by Sunhee Choi, independent curator and writer living in Paris and Jari Lager, director and owner of the Union gallery in London.

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