South Korean Contemporary Art
Koh Sang Woo - Luca Sangjun Kim - Gee Song
4 June - 3 July 2009
View Exhibition Online
See Installation Images
into the future, full throttle, firing on all cylinders
if you stop and think about what’s been left behind?
This is the predicament for
the contemporary artists of South Korea, a nation that
has rocketed from rural
economy to technological powerhouse in the space of only
a few years. Living through seismic geographical and
social changes, they have been forced to hit the ground
running in the brave new globalised world. To take stock
of how this progress affects and shapes contemporary
Korean culture, ‘Ideal Worlds’ brings together
the work of three exciting emerging artists: Koh Sang
Woo, Luca Sangjun Kim, and Gee Song.
Woo’s vibrant photographs explore an
idealised version of pure love, uncorrupted by power
or greed. Working with real couples to document their
relationships, he paints onto their bodies before taking
their portraits as part of a theatrical performance.
By reversing the colour and light in the exposure, he
gives his photographs an unmistakeable visual electricity
and intense emotional charge – hyper-real romance
for the IT age. Koh Sang Woo has exhibited at Christies
and the Armory in New York, and SUN Contemporary in Seoul.
This is his first UK exhibition.
Kim’s paintings are a process of
sedimentation, reduction and renewal. Into compositions
of natural phenomena – a horizon line, the sun’s
disc – he pours “skins” of brightly-coloured
paint, working into each wet layer with one intense gesture
so that each one evolves by human intervention, much
like the landscape itself. The edges are left clean,
like a geological cut in the painting, while the centres
glow vividly as an idealised space where artist and nature
meet. Luca Sangjun Kim has exhibited at the Jerwood Space
in London as well as throughout South Korea.
Gee Song’s paintings are like stereotypical snapshots
of holiday paradises – a tropical beach, diving
in a coral reef, or a sunset above a jungle canopy – with
bold, lush colours enhancing their allure. But beneath
the innocent idealisation, the paintings underline how
these are just ideas, dreams, and how, the more we live
removed from the natural world, the more nature itself
becomes an idealised, packaged product – an “other” to
be consumed in our increasingly complex relationship
with our environment. Gee Song is a South Korean painter
and recent MFA graduate from Goldsmiths.
Each artist grapples with
issues of rapid change over the past decades in their
native land, and how this has
altered traditional relationships to the land and to
each other. Each has their own way of examining and resolving
the beauty of an ideal with the stark realities they
find in contemporary society. Together, Ideal Worlds
gives a timely insight into the cultural dynamics of
one of the world’s most exciting ascendant economies.
For more information and images, contact:
James Freeman – 07790
The Ideal Worlds Private
View is kindly sponsored by:
Koh Sang Woo
" What Light Dreams III"
Archival Digital Print on Diasec, 2009
112cm x 163cm
Luca Sangjun Kim
on linen, 2008
2 panels, each 122cm x 180cm
on canvas, 2008
185cm x 210cm