Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chopping Play: Korean Contemporary Art Now (ION Art Gallery, 21 Feb 2011)


"The participants of "Chopping Play" [...] are all well-recognised contemporary Korean artists in their 30s and 40s who each epitomize the bold flair and creative vision that differentiates contemporary Korean art from their broad Asian peer group. Their evocative and dramatic works have been at the very epicenter of the transformation in Korean Contemporary art heralded by the epochal Gwangju Biennale in 1995, embracing diverse values, globalization and a determined assertion of self through conceptual art." [Kim Inseon - Curator]

A collection of accessible works embracing western pop culture references, collages of modern life. If you're here to find out what are the special Korean bits in Korean Contemporary art today, you might be disappointed that it is not apparent at all. The references in the works here are as global as any generic modern East Asian city - even Singapore also inadvertently feels like an east asian city because we are 78% chinese here.


Images of our animal friends from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Dreamworks' Kungfu Panda as painted onto chinese watercolour scrolls may be a neat (or highly sellable) concept but it unfortunately felt like an oversimplification for me, especially without detail of brush strokes. To me, this reflected a shallow understanding of Chinese watercolour. Korea of all places is steeped in such traditional arts, and imbued with what I perceive to be a type of "Korean aesthetic" influenced by "Chinese aesthetics" and confucianism/daoism... In general maybe I hoped too much to see works which reflected or dealt with the question of modern Korea.



I quite liked the sculpture works in the show though. Facial expressions were all excellently done.


Chun Sungmyung - The window blows to you (2011)

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