Korean artists exhibition at London Smokehouse Gallery

My doctoral research, which I completed in 2009, explored the growing phenomenon of artists from South Korea who are studying and practising art in Britain (predominantly London and New Malden). Whilst I am continually interested in researching the culture and history of the two Koreas - North and South - and the fascinating geopolitics of their recent historical relationship to each other and the rest of the world, this particular project was located within the place of Britain in relation to its current art scene. This place, or space, for artists who have sojourned or more permanently relocated from South Korea can be one of strangeness, tension, alienation, innovation, inspiration, freshness, inbetween-ness, memories, etc. One of the aims of my research was to analyse how relocation has affected the  artistic practices, the visual and theoretical themes and the everyday lives of the artists addressed in the study. These are concerns which are often orientated in relation to Diaspora Studies, which – generally speaking – explores the relationship migrated people have to both their homeland and their new place of residence (their ‘host’ country). Key issues often include notions of hybridity, inbetween-ness, trauma, memory and allegiance. The current exhibition, pictured in the flyer below, also addresses some of these themes. Over the past few years, a number of curators and academics in London have been examining the presence of Korean artists in Britain, encouraging cultural events and exhibitions which discuss the intercultural artistic contribution of such artists to the London art scene and the two-way processes of knowledge and personal innovations which are observed, imagined or experienced between the sites of London and Seoul. Notions of being caught inbetween two cultures or two places are traversed here in relation also to more local concerns of transitional urban spaces. So, if you happen to be in London over the next few weeks, you may like to take a visit to the exhibition at the relocated Smokehouse gallery, or even to the artists’ talk (see below).

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Forman’s Smokehouse Gallery is delighted to present ‘Place Not Found’ curated by Eunjung Shin, showing work by 15 South Korean artists most of whom relocated their working places from South Korea to London. Forman’s smokehouse, Britain’s oldest salmon smokers was likewise forced to relocate by the Olympic development to its current premises, overlooking the London 2012 Olympic Park. The works represented in the gallery space embody the artists’ experiences of a search for a place that can not be found. The gallery becomes a site for storytelling, exploring both existing and imaginary places in personal, conceptual, cultural and political spheres.

Place Not Found also relates to the transition of Hackney Wick from a traditional industrial zone to a vibrant spot of creativity. This progression inspires participating artists in Place Not Found presenting their perceptions as they respond to notions of rapid change and new surroundings.

Forman’s Smokehouse Gallery is delighted to present ‘Place Not Found’ curated by Eunjung Shin, showing work by 15 South Korean artists most of whom relocated their working places from South Korea to London. Forman’s smokehouse, Britain’s oldest salmon smokers was likewise forced to relocate by the Olympic development to its current premises, overlooking the London 2012 Olympic Park. The works represented in the gallery space embody the artists’ experiences of a search for a place that can not be found. The gallery becomes a site for storytelling, exploring both existing and imaginary places in personal, conceptual, cultural and political spheres.

Place Not Found also relates to the transition of Hackney Wick from a traditional industrial zone to a vibrant spot of creativity. This progression inspires participating artists in Place Not Found presenting their perceptions as they respond to notions of rapid change and new surroundings.

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If you are interested in Korean art or Korean art in Britain, please feel free to email me (B.M.Kennedy@mmu.ac.uk).

For more information on Smokehouse Gallery: http://smokehousegallery.org/

Also see http://londonkoreanlinks.net/2008/10/21/the-birth-of-the-ykabs-young-korean-artists-in-britain/

Beccy

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About Art Theory and Practice

BA Contemporary Art History Manchester School of Art http://www.mmu.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/2012/9406/

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