New and upcoming non-fiction titles for 2019

Unlike my list that attempts to compile upcoming literature and fiction titles, here I’ve had to be selective in what to include, otherwise the length of this post would be unmanageable. Nevertheless I’ve almost certainly missed out some titles that I’d want to have on my bookshelf. I’ve divided the list into seven sections: Literature […]

A look back at the 2018 literary year

A look back at the books and literary events of the year – and a summary of my reading diary. Literature in translation In translated fiction, my reading this year has not managed anywhere near to keep pace with the amount of translations being published. I know I said the same in respect of 2017 […]

Exhibition visit: Nick Bonner’s Made in North Korea

When one thinks of North Korean graphic art, images of strident anti-American propaganda posters spring to mind. Fortunately, and in the current climate of reduced tension on the peninsula, the posters that greeted you in the first room of Nick Bonner’s exhibition at the House of Illustration focused less on stirring up national hatred against […]

New books for the summer

A couple of new books to take with you on your summer break – or, more likely in respect of the first on the list, to adorn your coffee table when you return. First, fulsomely reviewed by Andrew Salmon in Asia Times, comes Inside North Korea by The Guardian‘s architecture and design critic Oliver Wainwright […]

Book review: Lee Yil – Dynamics of Expansion and Reduction

Lee Yil: Dynamics of Expansion and Reduction Selected Writings on Korean Contemporary Art, 1970 – 1996 Initial draft translations: Chung Yeon-shim, Park Eun-ah, Park Sung-ji Final translations: Paul O’Kane, Song Bada Published by AICA (International Association of Art Critics) / Les Presses du Réel, Dijon, France, 2018, 212pp How often do you read the learned […]

Lee Yil: seminar and book launch of selected writings on Contemporary Korean Art

Artist Bada Song and critic / lecturer Paul O’Kane spent a large part of last year helping to translate and edit an important new collection of mid-to-late 20th century writings of renowned Korean art critic Lee Yil (1932-1997), “the main observer of “Dansaekhwa”, or Korean monochrome”. That work has now come to fruition, with the […]

New and upcoming non-fiction titles for 2018

Too many books, not enough time to read them, or space to store them. Encouragingly, in a skim of the upcoming publication lists I had no problems finding plenty of books on a wide range of interesting topics. No longer it seems is the reading public (or the publishers’ perception thereof) solely interested in that […]

A look back at the books of 2015

In place of our annual “LKL Awards” post, we look at some of the highlights of 2015 in the area of books, film and music. Apart from the field of literature in translation (and of course I’m talking Han Kang here), there are no clear winners or I haven’t covered enough ground to choose one. […]

New book on Korean artefacts in Oxford

Oxford’s Bodleian Library announces the publication of a new book on historic Korean artefacts in the University’s collections. It accompanies an exhibition which runs 26 August to 26 September 2011 in the Proscholium at the Bodleian Library: Korean Treasures: Rare Books, Manuscripts and Artefacts in the Bodleian Libraries and Museums of Oxford University by Minh […]

Kim Young-na: Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea

Kim Young-na: Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea (Hollym, 2005) A brief but action-packed overview of twentieth century Korean art history, which can be read alongside Kim’s other book covering the same period, published by Lawrence King. While her Lawrence King book is a collection of essays focusing on particular subject areas, the Hollym book […]

Chung Hyung-min: Modern Korean Ink Painting

(Hollym, 2006) A well-illustrated and easy-to-read book which traces the development of ink painting in the 20th century from its roots in the Chosun dynasty: the famous “court” painter O-won (Jang Seung-eop, 장승업, immortalised in Im Kwon-taek’s Chihwaseon), and the literati style perfected in Kim Jeong-hi (김정희). Chung emphasises the importance of the short-lived (1911-19) […]

Kim Young-na: 20th Century Korean Art

(Lawrence King, 2005) A collection of articles, turned into a book. As I’m neither an art critic nor an art historian I’m going to restrict myself to a chapter-by-chapter summary of the ground covered. A useful overview of colonial period art. Highlights the difficulty of studying & researching the art history of the period, in […]

Jane Portal: Art under control in North Korea

Jane Portal: Art under control in North Korea Reaction Books / British Museum Press, 2005, 192pp An interesting, easy to read book cataloguing the different art forms in North Korea. Some of the works, particularly poster art, have been on display in the Korean gallery in the British Museum. The book carefully avoids making judgements […]