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Korean Contemporary Art at Moorhouse

I popped into this exhibition on the way home from work earlier this week. It’s good to see art in an environment that is slightly less artificial than a gallery space. Lee Jae-hyo’s tables (pictured) looked particularly good in the reception area of this office building, just next to Moorgate tube. Also looking natural on the wall was Park Jihye’s sensitive portraits.

Here’s the official notice of the exhibition:

Albemarle Gallery in association with Art Moorhouse present a collective exhibition of Korean contemporary art at MOORHOUSE, the iconic Norman Foster building in the City of London.The transition from a gallery setting into a modern, urban and corporate environment provides a new and exciting context in which to view these works.

Moorhouse exhibition

An Exhibition of Korean Contemporary Art
120 London Wall
City of London, EC2Y 5ET

22 March – 27 April 2012
Monday – Friday 9 – 5. Weekends by appointment

Korea has made the transition from an underdeveloped country to a developed nation with dizzying speed. This achievement, frequently refered to as “The Korean Miracle”, has resulted in what is possibly the most successful model of economic development in the 20th Century.

The artists featured in this exhibition are products of this transformation, as their coming-of-age coincided with this rapid period of change in Korea. They work in sculpture and painting and explore the issues that permeate the new Korean society: consumerism, materialism and the conflict between traditional eastern values and new western values. They also pose a critical question, forcing out examination for Korea today: What is contemporary Korean culture?

Bae Joonsung appropriates old master paintings and contextualises the original impression and his pastiche. The introduction of lenticular lens in his work made the viewing experience of multiple layers effortless. The most recent series of paintings are titled “The Museum”, and Bae Joonsung has emphasized the theme of relativity: the viewer and being viewed by placing his work in the multi-perspective environment of museums.

Hong Sungchul uses various media and modern technology to prompt interaction and performance from his viewers. Communicating the deep desire for human contact within society, his works never fully reveal themselves initially and exude a ghostly quality whereby the visual sense is questioned. The viewer must abandon reliance on their eyes alone and use their bodies and voices to prompt cooperation with the work.

Kim Yeon‘s sculptures encourage moments on meditation and contemplation from the viewer. Representing streams and rivers captured in a state of stasis, tranquility and calm, the solidity of Yeon’s rocks and pebbles contrast with the soft, liquid appearance of the resin they are encased in. Kim Yeon lives and works in South Korea.

Kim Yongjin works with rusty tightly coiled metal wires to depict portraits and porcelain. These numerous wires play the role of a brush, which enable the depiction of the subject through the meticulous control of their number and density. The painstaking devotion and discipline required to create his work explains his character and pursuit as an artist.

Lee Horyon uses overlapping and interlocking images to weave desire into his oil paintings. Lee’s works begin as photographs, which are then combined into Photoshop compositions for painting on canvas. The photorealist works play with the texture and the double vision techniques encountered within the genre, but unnaturally recreate this method. These paintings become a reproduction of an altered reality.

Lee Jaehyo: from the smallest detail, a nail hammered into a burnt slab of wood, to monumental constructions of sliced timber, Lee Jaehyo is at one with his materials. one is immediately struck by the perfection of his craftsmanship, and led to reflect on the may long hours of physical labour that must have gone into the production of these immaculate and intricate objects.

Lee Kangwook draws inspiration from microscopic images of human cells and visions of a gigantic universe as the basis for his abstract-like paintings, which represent these two opposed spaces. Although distinctively opposite in capacity, they don’t seem dissimilar both being invisible to human eyes and senses. Lee’s paintings are stories of these to contradicting worlds.

Park Jihye is a meticulous painter who concerns herself primarily with depictions of women. These women are often caught from behind, mid-movement. Despite the photorealist qualities of her paintings and her initial reliance on the medium for material, her paintings, unlike photographs, do not depict a moment within a movement but convey the sequence of movements and the entire essence of a moment.

Yun Weedong masterfully utilizes watercolours to create hyperrealist images of human figures. Carefully exploring every detail of his characters, Yun employs an extremely complex medium to achieve results rarely achieved in oil or acrylic, much less watercolour. An expert with his technique, Yun exposes brighter areas of painting to th texture of the paper and achieves an undeniable fragility in his images.

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