London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

K-P.O.P – Contemporary Korean Art at MOCA Taipei

An interesting way of branding an exhibition, in one of the first countries to get enthusiastic about K-pop. If you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth a visit according to LKL’s former visual arts correspondent. On from 19 April to 15 June 2014.

K-P.O.P: Contemporary Korean Art

Process. Otherness. Play

K-pop exhibition

K-pop is commonly used today to refer to Korean pop, a popular music genre. Along with the rapid economic growth of Korea, K-pop has also risen to represent Korean culture as the music genre finds commercial success in the global market. While the word pop refers to the common popular culture, it also means an unexpected presence, a quick, short explosive sound, or the act of opening something suddenly and violently. As popular culture oftentimes galvanizes visibility and popularity by providing sensory excitement and mainstream satisfaction, K-pop has inevitably become associated with labels that can be at fault of over-simplification. Such labels become hurdles that impede people from truly understanding and realizing the cultural and social essences of contemporary Korea. As a response, K-P.O.P. seeks to reconstruct and reverse the creative connotations of Korean pop. The exhibition is organized under three themes: Process, Otherness, and Play, through which the concept of K-pop will be examined.


The section “Process” emphasizes the belief that the significance and values of an artwork reside in the act of creation and the course in which it was made rather than being limited to the finished work alone. Especially for contemporary artists, a combination of methods is commonly taken for one work, from collecting, organizing, associating, to verifying, performing, and intending. This exhibition will present a selection of works by iconic Korean artists whose artistic practices derive from this exact concept that holds the process of art-making as the integral part of the final works of art.


“Otherness,” which opposes to the self, is a concept used to distinguish people or groups other than one’s self. In a Western-centered ideology, the world is viewed from the subjective perspective of Westerners, and the “others” are judged based on the Western value system. Those who fail to meet the standards and expectations held by the West are subsequently labeled as “the other,” which often is as belittling as it positions the other as the minority. This section will examine contemporary Korean artists’ attempts to break through such concept and myth. Many have chosen to tackle topics such as ethnicity, gender, culture, religion, social strata, and nationality in their works as a way to understand the relationship and possible interaction between the other and different social systems.


“Play” focuses on the essential role the Internet plays today in the daily lives of people and some of the reflections and responses by contemporary artists to this cultural phenomenon. As is known, pressure and stresses of reality have forced many to choose to escape to the cyber world where they set imagination free and have emotions expressed. Various Internet communities have also been established as a result. In the virtual world, people find full freedom in role-playing and forging any identity they wish without limitations and restrictions of the real world. These role-playing games have in turn become a driving force that stimulates exploration of virtual lives and expressions of creativity and imagination. The exhibition will present in this section the observations and dialectics in which selected contemporary Korean artists have engaged about virtual and real societies and lives.

K-P.O.P.: Korean Contemporary Art will showcase some of the most celebrated works by 19 renowned Korean artists. It surveys the practice of contemporary Korean art and Korean culture as a whole. It also hopes to provide the local audience with the opportunity to discover and understand the diverse landscapes and unique art fabric woven together by Korean artists today through their distinctive choices of cultural subjects and media. Although the exhibition could only represent a slice of the Korean art world, it still offers us an assessment framework and possible imagination for its future development and potentials.

Cha Myung Hi 車明熹 | Chang Kyum Kim 金昌謙 | Choi Young Wook 崔永旭 | Chung Suejin 鄭秀真 | Gimhongsok 金泓錫 | Han Hyo Seok 韓效昔 | Hong Ji Yoon 洪志侖 | Jeong Jin Yong 鄭真蓉 | Kang Yiyun 康利妍 | Kibong Rhee 李基鳳 | Kira Kim 金基羅 | Kimsooja 金守子 | Lee Kyung-Ho 李京浩 | Lee Kyoung Mi 李慶美 | Lee Lee Nam 李二男 | Osang Gwon 權五祥 | Park Seung Mo 朴勝模 | Yeesookyung 李受俓 | Yeondoo Jung 鄭然斗


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.