Korean Eye 2020: Creativity and Daydream, an exhibition of Korean contemporary artists, opeedn at the Lotte World Tower Mall on 23 June 2021.
Korean Eye: Creativity and Daydream is curated by Serenella Ciclitira, CEO and Founder of Parallel Contemporary Art, Philippa Adams, Head Curator and Director, Saatchi Gallery and Dr Dimitri Ozerkov, Head of the Department of Contemporary Art, the State Hermitage Museum.
This homecoming was the last leg of the touring exhibition which opened at the State Hermitage Museum, Spring 2020 followed by a residence in London at Saatchi Gallery last Autumn. Comprising a carefully-curated selection of Korean Contemporary artworks showcasing some of the country’s most exciting talent, and featuring a fascinating array of painting, sculpture, installation, embroidery, ceramics, performance, video and photography. The artists selected for inclusion are; Cody Choi, Da In Park, Doowon, Eunha Kim, Gosari, Hyojin Park, Hun Kyu Kim, Hoyeon Kang, Jungjin Lee, Jungki Beak, Kwantaeck Park, Lee Yongbaek, Meekyoung Shin, Mino, Oak Jungho, Park Miock, Sekyung Lee, Sea Hyun Lee, Wonwoo Lee, Yoonsuk Choi and Young In Hong
The international tour of Creativity and Daydream was conceived to mark the 10th anniversary of the Global Eye Programme to take place in three locations around the world. The closure of cultural institutions worldwide as a result of COVID-19 threatened to derail plans, but despite these setbacks the exhibition opened at both Saatchi Gallery and the State Hermitage Museum to critical acclaim. The exhibition was the first of its kind in Russia and coincided with the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Russia.
In 2008 David and Serenella Ciclitira founded Parallel Contemporary Art (PCA) and teamed up with Saatchi Gallery to launch the Global Eye Programme. As passionate art collectors, they felt strongly that the exciting new art emerging from Korea merited more in-depth focus. Their idea was to provide a platform to contextualise Korean work by publishing books that would document particular movements and scenes in Korea and Greater Asia. It was a natural step from there to stage exhibitions that focused on some of the artists in the books, Korean Eye has held 15 global exhibitions, ranging from London to Seoul, Singapore to Abu Dhabi, New York to St. Petersburg. During the London Olympics in 2012, Korean Eye attracted a record number of more than half a million visitors to Saatchi Gallery.
The programme additionally aims to develop arts infrastructure in territories where this is lacking, in order to provide artists with the platforms, support and recognition that they need to develop their careers. Serenella explains, “South Korean art is more than a great story; it is a great story brilliantly told. It has been fascinating to watch and to witness how much it has conquered the international platform.”
Serenella and her husband David have supported young artists under the “Eye” brand, producing definitive books and exhibitions in Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. “I see art as a voice”, notes Serenella, “and that voice speaks for the environment from which it comes.” Creativity and Daydream coincides with the publication by SKIRA of the third Korean Eye book, a unique compilation of the work of 75 of the finest Korean contemporary artists today, edited by Serenella Ciclitira. It accompanies the exhibition and launched at Saatchi Gallery on 20 October 2020.
An art piece which David feels epitomises the connecting theme of the exhibition is Eunha Kim’s Bon Appetite, a vibrant beef burger collage of old clothing. David was so taken with the piece that he purchased it for the couple’s personal collection.
Mino, artist, musician and member of top K-Pop band Winner, joined the touring exhibition in London and became an Ambassador for Korean Eye 2020. David explains “Serenella and I are so very happy to have been able to build Korean Eye over the past decade, working with Mino has reinforced my personal belief that creative individuals have a thirst to create across disciplines. And now to be able to open the final multi-discipline homecoming exhibition at Lotte World Tower Mall is a source of pride for us both particularly given the global pandemic.” Creativity and Daydream at Lotte World Tower Mall will include photography by Gosari, whose visuals explore and capture the lives and experiences of people through the spaces they formerly inhabited. Photographs and a video work from Jungho Oak humorously play on questions of culture and aggression via his film Freak Show. Award-winning artist and academic Young In Hong will display her intricate mixed-media works. By working across photography, embroidery, garment-making techniques and painting, Young In Hong’s multifaceted artistic practice references Korean craftsmanship and traditional textile history. Representing the Korean tradition of artists’ use of unusual mediums, Sekyung Lee will present a series of ceramics decorated with intricate patterns made from her own hair. Meekyoung Shin, a well- established female artist famed for her sculptures and artefacts made from soap, will present her monoliths: ceramic rock-like structures created to represent geological forms that might have arisen during the birth of the Cosmos.
The sensorial experience of Korean Art and its impact is tangible throughout the exhibition. Saatchi gallery’s director, Philippa Adams, explains: “This survey of work highlights an exciting new generation of artists, providing an arresting insight into the future of art in Korea. With a long history of fine art tradition, contemporary Korean artists are fast reaching international audiences through film, pop culture, fine art, fashion and new media. Saatchi Gallery feels honoured to support Korean Eye 2020, the new voices of contemporary Korea.”
Hana Bank President and CEO Ji Sung Kyu expressed his delight that Hana Bank’s sponsorship is able to serve as a wonderful opportunity to discover and nurture the careers of Korean artists. He stated, “Hana Bank is highly committed to the development of the arts and culture sector, and we endeavour to fulfil our motto: “A financial institution that grows as its symbiotic relationship with the local community strengthens". Korean Eye is a particularlymeaningful project that introduces talented up-and-coming Korean artists to a global audience. The collaboration between Korean Eye 2020 and Hana Bank strives to contribute to the growth of Korean contemporary art and in doing so encourage all these talented artists.”
As South Korea’s popular and cultural exports continue to rise, so, too, has its artistic cachet, and today South Korea is without doubt at the forefront of an exciting era in the arts, with K-Pop music, videos and films going viral on social media; Bong Joon-ho and Kwak Sin-ae’s film, Parasite, winning an Oscar for ‘Best Picture’ at the 2020 Academy Awards. and BTS, one of the world’s bestselling bands, announcing a global art project with blue-chip artists.
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