Korea is an art market on the rise. This is reflected in the number of Korean artists who have been showing in London, most noticeably in the Saatchi gallery exhibition last year.
The Albemarle Gallery now brings together eight artists with contrasting styles whose commonality is their country of origin and the fact they are adding their own East Asian spin on contemporary pop art.
Do Min creates hyper-realistic paintings of dice landing in water, while Hong Sungchul’s hands clasped behind a back are made entirely of painted elastic strings. It’s an impressive feat that gives the works a shimmering quality of motion.
Not all of the works impressed to such a degree. Hwang Seon Tae’s work feels too derivative of Caulfield and Mari Kim’s portrayal of Western icons as anime characters feels overly kitschy despite the ironic message the works are trying to convey.
Im Chang Wook’s paintings impress with their hidden faces and Kim Yongjin’s momentous images of crockery are made entirely of twisted wire — these have to be seen up close to be believed.
The star of the show is Lee Jaehyo for his inventive use of media, whether it be to create undulating steel ‘landscapes’ or wooden furniture. Jaehyo ensures each work references its origins so, for example, it’s glaringly obvious that the furniture is made up of tree trunks — a nod to both sustainability and how the manufacturing process has alienated modern society from the source material of everyday items.
All eight artists on display are very different and most of them demonstrate a creativity that makes for an innovative and engaging exhibition.
Korean Collective is on at Albemarle Gallery, 49 Albemarle St, W1S 4JR until 5 October. Admission is free.