In October last year there was a brief two week exhibition at the KCC entitled Korea, Koreanity. It featured four artists from Jeollanam-do, and the backbone of the exhibition was a collection of nostalgic black and white photos by Kang Bong-kyu. It was a shame the exhibition wasn’t longer, because it deserved several visits, and I included it in my shortlist for LKL’s exhibition of the year 2011.
Fortunately, we now have another chance to see Kang’s work, courtesy of Mokspace, whose gallery is just opposite the British Museum.
From 2 March.
Nostalgia of Korea, Korean
Kang Bong Kyu Solo Exhibition
PRIVATE VIEW 2 March 2012 6 – 9 pm
Mokspace is delighted to present the gallery’s first solo exhibition of Bong Kyu Kang, one of the most respected pioneers of Korean photography.
“Where should we find the Korean’s original appearance? I dare to hope that my photography will be able to trigger the precious memory of the childhood and bring back humanity to modern men who are living a busy life away from home, forget their hometown.”
– Kang Bong Kyu
The exhibition shows two sections from Kang’s series ‘Korean, Koreanity: Houses and their surroundings’ and ‘People and Lifestyles’. His work reflects on the richness of the nostalgic aspects of Korean culture, and their identity within the landscapes and portraits such as the traditional architecture, totems and statues, which symbolize their lifestyle. Kang’s work is the result of 40 years of tireless investigation into the identity of Korea and Koreans which risked being forgotten in the shadow cast by the Korean War. Kang Bong Kyu has studied Koreans and Koreanity within the context of the traditional culture of their hometown and many other locations where a sense of nostalgia for Korean culture remains strong since 1959. Kang has explored photography’s full range of possibilities and produced uncompromising documentary photography, working both as a photojournalist and as an artist. After his first solo show in 1979, he has held many shows such as “Trend of Contemporary Photography” at Seoul Art Centre in 1994, and “Korean’s Home” at Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima, Sendai and Niigata in 2002 and “The Sixty years of Korean Photography” at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in 2008.
He was a chief executive officer at the 1st Gwangju Biennale in 1995. Also he was worked at “Gwangju Ilbo” as the Photo Editor and the Magazine Director from 1959 to 1980. Kang was also Editor in Chief of his own publication “Life Stories of People”, the photo monthly magazine, in 1992. He has received the Eun-Gwan Medal of Ministry of Culture of Republic of Korea for his excellent achievement in the development of culture and art.
Currently, Kang is devoted entirely to photography-based works and lives in Myeongjiwon, Damyang, Jeollanamdo, Korea.
‘Korean, Koreanity’ was organized in close collaboration with Korean Culture Centre in Charing Cross, London 2009.
Mokspace is at 33 Museum Street, London WC1A 1LH T: +44 (0) 20 7637 8880, www.mokspace.com