London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Keane’s 3rd Album: the Korean connection

Keane, by Gwon Osang
Keane, by Gwon Osang. Courtesy UNION Gallery. Photo: Pixsell (source)

A bit of trivia which I picked up when visiting HADA Contemporary’s current mini retrospective of Gwon Osang’s work.

Gwon’s Deodorant Type series consists of 3-D sculptures made up of 2-D photographs of his models pasted on to a basic human form and then finished with high-gloss resin. It is the series of work for which he is probably best known. Originally the works were created following a painstaking shoot in which Gwon would photograph his model from every angle so that he could create the resulting 3-D sculpture. In more recent work such photographic images have been culled from the internet – for example in his 2010 likeness of David Hockney.


Gwon’s work clearly caught the eye of British rock group Keane. If you look closely at the album cover for their third album, Perfect Symmetry (2008), you’ll notice the tell-tale shiny finish from Gwon’s Deodorant Type series. To create the cover, Keane commissioned their own life size sculptures from Gwon. According to Creative Review, Gwon took up to 3,000 snaps per band member during the course of a five-day London photoshoot, and then created the sculptures back in Seoul. It’s a shame that the resulting sculptures get so little space on the cover.

According to The Guardian, Keane’s frontman Tom Chaplin said: “They’re life-size (a bit bigger, actually) – spooky, stunning, hyper-real and funny, all at the same time.”

As noted in the comment section below, the project was put together by UNION Gallery, one of the very early pioneers in bringing contemporary Korean artists to London.

Thanks to Sun at HADA Contemporary for the info.

Sources & additional material, including behind-the-scenes photos of the creative process: Creative Review | Guardian

Gwon Osang’s exhibition at HADA Contemporary entitled Postmodern Times continues until 31st May


2 thoughts on “Keane’s 3rd Album: the Korean connection

  1. Hi Philip,
    This was actually a UNION Gallery project. We did the whole thing from beginning to end, but we received very little credit for it. Nevertheless it should say Courtesy UNION Gallery, really.

    1. Thanks for the additional information Jari. I wish I’d known about it at the time.

      I have fond memories of my first encounter with Gwon’s work, at UNION’s Give me Shelter exhibition back in 2006. In fact my very first TV interview (one of the early Korean TV features on Hallyu in the UK) was shot in front of one of Gwon’s huge “The Flat” compositions, at UNION.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.