Exhibition Review: Now X Here

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The 5th Annual Exhibition of contemporary art by UK based Korean Artists at the KCC UK rounded off the year and is seeing in 2013. This exhibition, ‘Now X Here’,  “brings together the exciting and inspiring work of nine Korean artists each living and working in the UK”. This annual exhibition gives a chance for art students and recent graduates to show off their works in an environment which will allow them to gain much exposure to the public, as well as getting valuable support as artists for the duration of the exhibition. The artists were chosen, by an esteemed panel of judges, based “on their relevance to the open call theme, the understanding of visual language and originality of artistic development”. The artists who were chosen are…..

Heeseung Choi, Han Byul Kang, Daewoong Kim, Woo Jin Kim, Fay Shin, Kyung Hwa Shon, Beomsik Won, Jin Woo Yoo, Hyesoo You

More information about the artists can be seen in a previous post here.

When you go into the KCC UK, you’re immediately introduced to the exhibition by Hyesoo You’s work, which is placed in the foyer. You’s work focuses on the “abstract voices of everyday objects”, and this is definitely reflected in the piece. The whole piece itself is pretty large allowing you to explore and study it from all angles. Seemingly random objects are placed together to create a whole; the items themselves seem like normal everyday objects, but capture your attention with their colours and patterns making you perceive these items in a different way. It’s like a modern abstract pop art piece in 3D.

As you walk up the stairs to the main part of the exhibition you are greeted by Kyung Hwa Shon’s vibrant and psychedelic pieces. We are big fans of Kyung Hwa Shon’s works, which are bright, attention grabbing and bold. The works shown by this artist reflect her interpretations of London’s architecture, with a focus on Westminster. Her colourful paintings are fun to look at and really brightens up the atmosphere of the KCC and definitely put us in a cheerful mood. It’s fun to try to guess which buildings in Westminster she’s been inspired by, and interesting to see how much London’s architecture has influenced and inspired her.

Beomsik Won is an artist whose works we’ve had the pleasure of seeing before at the Place Not Found exhibition. His ‘Archisculpture Project’ aims to make huge buildings from pieces of other buildings, thus mixing the ideas of several architects together. What he creates are amazing photos with buildings that look they’re from some sort of futuristic cityscape. It’s really interesting seeing how he fits all the different buildings together to form one super-building, sort of like Tetris with landmark architecture. In one of his new photos, you can even see the KCC building added in!

Fay Shin’s works mix standard painting surfaces with not so standard painting surfaces, hence why she’s got paint all over the KCC’s wall. Don’t worry, she’s got full permission to get artistic, and this results in the interesting concept that her art overflows from its conventional constraints and into everyday surroundings, as you see her art spill out of the canvases and pieces and into the surrounding surfaces. This embodies her idea that she wants to explore various boundaries, such as public vs private and authentic vs fake. We particularly enjoyed her work done on the unconventional surface of carpet and you could see the vague outlines of bodies, among other things.

Heesung Choi’s work is probably some of the most visibly impressive pieces in this exhibition. Choi is intrigued with the idea of space and how space can be created or suggested. Choi wants to “express things that appear familiar but bear a sense of difference, and things that appear realistic but also unrealistic”. The piece A remain from the Calling, which is placed on the floor, demonstrates these ideas. It looks like a cushion, but on closer inspection is actually concrete and static. The amazing ladder Choi made was one of our favourite pieces. Leading up to the ceiling, this delicate staircase looked so intricate and beautiful. We were so tempted to try to walk up it, and we’re sure other people had this thought too. Luckily we managed to override these temptations, or this finely made piece would have no doubt been wrecked. But this is a great symbolisation of Choi’s ideas where a ladder, an apparatus made to be sturdy and supportive, can actually be so fragile and delicate, defying our expectations.

Woo Jin Kim gets all abstract on us using different mediums. The most intriguing being his video work which is projected onto a small corner in the KCC. His work looks at people in their daily lives and he contrasts relaxed and busy moments. In this projection you see a group of people on one side and a solo person on the other side, separated by the physical corner of the wall it is projected onto. His other pieces can be seen on the wall where portraits of people are brushed onto metal sheets. When you look into these pieces you can see your face reflected in the metal and see your face almost take on the emotions of the persons in the portrait.

Also present at this exhibition are some beautiful and thought provoking photos by Dae Woong Kim, which “act as mirrors of [himself]”. Taken from his Silence Within series, you see the idea of being alone and isolated, both emotionally and physically, demonstrated through his powerful images. His photos are all amazingly orchestrated – the composition, depiction of subject matter and overall effect stir up strong feelings as you study them. Set in seemingly homely, familiar and comfortable locations such as in the home and in the bedroom, he has somehow managed to capture the sense of loneliness and displacement within the ‘models’. The amount of emotions that come off these photos is overwhelming and the really impressive thing is that a lot of his subjects are children, not professional models.

Han Byul Kang’s works deal with the idea of challenging people’s pre-conceived ideas about boundaries and limits of objects in terms of our need to label and define everything so we can order the world around us. Kang’s piece, which occupies its own room, shows us objects split up and divided, like the simple splitting of a circle to the fragmented line that runs across the piece. She also shows us a more interesting way to hang up art rather than being nailed flat on the wall and demonstrates a great use of shadowing to add to a piece of art. In this way, Kang is helping us to see that we shouldn’t presume art should be one way only, and that there are many notions and ideas to explore.

In the room where the KCC usually plays its films is the work by Jin Woo Yoo. Taking up one whole wall, this piece of art is certainly unmissable and although may appear simple, is actually very intricate. To create this amazing affect, Yoo went through the painstacking process of repetitive scratching and marking a painted wall; the effort and patience it must have taken is unfathomable. Yoo’s works involve mark-making as it’s a way of combining the physical with the spiritual, if you imagine the paint as a layer of skin, the scratching to reveal the under layer is symbolic of revealing the soul within. It was really interesting to see how viewing the piece from different angles changed the colours and impression of the piece, this is definitely a piece to be viewed from as many angles as possible!

Even the plug got covered!

The exhibition is on until the 23rd of Jan, so don’t miss out and pop down to the KCC UK now!

A full album of photos can be seen here

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