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Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Far East Fine Art: Korean artists at the Mall Galleries

News of a group show at the Mall Galleries, 23rd Mar – 3rd Apr 2010, 10am – 5pm (Closes 4pm on final day).

As interest in the arts of the Far East becomes greater than ever, a new company has been established which aims to present its best, most innovative artists to a new audience.

Founded by Young Hong, Far East Fine Art Ltd will be the first stop for all those fascinated by the evolving Eastern arts scene in all its different forms, media and styles.

Far East Fine Art’s first exhibition in London will take place at the MALL GALLERIES from March 23rd to 3rd April. It will feature the work of seven exciting and enormously varied artists from South Korea: Lim, Tae-Gyu; Seo, Jung Hak; Kim, Jun Ki; Jung, Young Mo; Youn, Hyun Sook; Shin, Hyun-Dae and Sonn, Jong Jin.

Lim Tae-gyu

Lim Tae-gyu: Tong River Valley
Lim Tae-gyu: Tong River Valley. 190 x 95cm, ink and body colour on hanji

This astonishing suite of pictures are a series of Studies of the Tong River.

We find a powerful combination of Eastern aesthetic codes and a Western conception of depicting reality recalling the intense, almost mystical detail of the work of Kaspar David Friedrich and much topographical painting from the Enlightenment period. We find in equal measure an absorption in detail which recalls near-Ruskinian levels.

Sonn John-jin

Sonn Jong Jin: Lady-YS
Sonn Jong Jin: Lady-YS. 117 x 78cm Digital Image

This Korean photographer takes the visual investigation of the human image as his central subject.

The instantaneous nature of the medium of photography captures and records evanescent facets of a superficial, shifting form which may reveal previously unseen elements of personality.

The tension here resides in the fact that the photographic images are easily manipulability and therefore can distort the originally revealed facet of personality. The main question which the artist poses is by how much and what extra qualities does the enhancement reveal about the original.

Seo Jung-hak

Seo Jung-hak: Shout
Seo Jung-hak: Shout. 90 x 90cm, Mixed media

Many of Seo’s work have as their central conceit the reconciliation of fundamental contradictions.

The predominant colour which provides the central coda of his work points to an overall neutrality – what is grey if it is not some form of aesthetic compromise between black and white? It could be seen as an aesthetic middle-ground reached at through a reconciliation of opposites. We find in the works an exploration of the complexity of this reconciliation process.

Perhaps the most immediately recognizable iconographical image of this conundrum is the Yin and Yang glyph which is a symbol of harmony and balance; a resolution of opposites. For a Western audience it is fascinating to explore the points of connection. We could posit that the nearest aesthetic equation in the West are Fibonacci equations which pursue a line of beauty or formulae governing successfully resolved aesthetic productions. Similar mathematical structures are seen to govern phenomena in the natural world, such as the Nautilus shell and the florescence of plants.

A similar complexity of approach can be seen as the governing spirit of Jung Seo’s work.

Kim Jun-ki

Kim Jun-ki: the Seen City 0914
Kim Jun-ki: the Seen City 0914: Silver mirror, Sheet LED, light box 120 x 71cm

These striking and original works seek to impose their own resolution of layers of reality which are sometimes wildly at odds with one another. The images portray the interplay the interplay of internal, external and virtual images with the surrounding context of a brightly colored, often turbulent and confusing urban reality at the same time as establishing a visual dialogue with the viewer.

The fact that the images are displayed back-lit transforms the pictures into illuminated objects, in a similar way to stained-glass windows.

Jung Young-mo

Jung Young-mo: Story of Home Town
Jung Young-mo: Story of Home Town. 160 x 130cm, Acrylic on hanji

The central theme of Jung’s work is the changing nature of our memories of childhood which is expressed through specific images relevant to his own childhood. The works are naif depictions of his own memories, his childhood home, farmyard animals, trees which appear toy-like – all seen through the eyes of a child. There is an inherent reflection contained in the paintings that as we age we lose our sense of spontaneity and purity of mind.

An important image is the Cockerel whose appearance hints at the loss of innocence, with the Cockerel being symbolic of betrayal in the Christian story.

Youn Hyun-sook

Youn Hyun-sook: Flower Shadow
Youn Hyun-sook: Flower Shadow. 100 x 72.7cm. Body colour on hanji

The starting point of Youn’s paintings is the woodland scenario. Within the wood, the changing seasons, day and night and the shifting seasonal flora and fauna are seen to depict the changing nature of human experience. Navigation within the wood itself becomes a metaphor for the various different stages of discovery about ourselves and our emotions throughout the different stages of life.

Shin Hyun-dae

Shin Hyun-dae
Shin Hyun-dae

This artist explores the scenes of agricultural productiveness to be found in the Han River Valley in South Korea and allows the reader to interpret the lessons which nature itself can teach if approached in the correct way.

The relationship between landscape and humanity is seen to be a delicate and perhaps fragile interdependence. It is clear that only if we adopt a gentle and respectful attitude to the productive and sustaining powers of nature can this dependence be maintained. Nature is self-regenerating; it is cyclical, which in turn is capable of teaching humanity profound lessons.

He is particularly fascinated by the beauty and vigorous movement of early morning mist – through this mist we observe the spirit of the earth.


(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.

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