O Bang Saek KAA UK 2012

Beyond Hallyu attended and covered our first event at the Korean Cultural Centre and what a wonderful event it was. The event was the Korean Artists Association UK’s promotion of their culture and art via Obangsaek.  Obangsaek is the interpretation, via music, dance and the visual arts, of the five traditional colours of Korea.

Let’s start with discussing the art that was featured there. The show featured 17 artists’ pieces of work that were placed around the Korean Cultural Centre on view for the public to view (between 28th November – 4th December). Each of the pieces were surrounded by people when we first walked into the building and you could clearly see the artists discussing with people the ideas behind their work and answering any questions that were given to them. Myself and Jackie (Beyond Hallyu’s photographer) walked around taking time to look at each piece both separately and together and each of us were able to pick out a few favourites.

Favourite pieces of art work shown:

Kihyun Kim ‘Romance’ 2012
The first piece of work to catch my eye was a large piece projected onto a wall in a seated room. The projection was a looped motion video of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 with the sonnet shown in red writing on a black background; along with certain letters in white. The artist described the work as the feelings of love expressed beyond a human understanding, this being shown by the black background. The red and the white colours featured showed in turn the intensity that love has on the heart and the innocence of it.

What I found most appealing about this piece was the fact that the artist chose to use mainly red writing on the black background with the ‘y’s’ in white. My perception of this piece was that he was attempting to show that love has become somewhat less innocent than when the words used within the sonnet were first written.

Dean Shim ‘Listening to Dance No.3 – Ballet’ 2012
This piece of work was described by the artist as showing the visual language of dance which is intimately entwined with emotions, illustrating the music with the movements and expressions of art.

This piece was certainly eye catching as when I first looked at it I feel like I could see the dancers performing in front of me which I feel was the aim of this piece. It showed the art of dance is an emotion that can be expressed by many forms of music and in this example it just so happen to be ballet.

Jeesun Hwang ‘Red Moth’ 2012
I had walked past this bit of work before it was pointed out as something I ‘might enjoy’ and rightly so. Out of all the work shown I think that this may have been my favourite piece due to the style and the way in which the artist described it.

The work was described as the journey of three main characters, Timmy, Mari and Red Moth in five colour spaces (the theme of the exhibit). The characters start this journey in order to find a key that will save them via a world made up of five conceptual colours; yellow, blue, white, red and black. Whilst taking part on this journey the characters grow psychologically and physically by meeting with challenges that test them.

Everything about this appealed to me. The way in which it told a story of challenges, growth and togetherness whilst incorporating the five colours of Korea showed to me that the artist really thought about what would put the concept of Obangsaek across to an audience in a fitting way which made it most enjoyable to look at.

Sunju Park ‘A moment in Rain’ 2012
A moment in the rain was allocated to the side of the room and anyone not looking about of each piece of work may have walked past it. A wonderful fused glass piece, this was described by the artist as representing a single point frozen in time. In this instance it was the rain.

Within the work was a drop of rain that appeared to be translucent and fluid within the glass but it was clear that this was frozen within. Upon reading the artists thoughts on the work and looking at it I felt that the words that had used to describe it had been the best way to do so.

List of artists and work featured:
Soon Yul Kang ‘Unity’ 2012
Jean Kim ‘Untitled’ 2012
Taehyung Kim ‘Black Recycled Garbage Bag’ 2012
Miso Park ‘Bloom 1′ 2012
Bada Song ‘Ta-iL 20′ 2012
Eunjung Feleppa ‘The Ghosts of the Flower’ 2012
Sooyung Lee & Hyunseok Lee ‘108 Agonies’ 2012
Unmi Li ‘Five elements’ 2012
Enya Elswood ‘Birch Trees’ 2011
Joohee Chun ‘BOK – Blessing’ 2012
Kitty Jun-im ‘Facing the Imprint 1′ 2011

Young-shin Kim ‘Full leather binding’ 2012

Dance and Music:

The dance, entitled ‘Bridging Colours’ was a great way to begin the performances with many young dancers from the University of Roehampton dancing in various areas throughout the room, changing to display each of the colours.

Throughout the audience was able to observe the changes in the pace and the feel of the dance and you could tell where it had been made relatable to nature (the dance was connected to the Korean concept if the five colours of nature).

Again we were brought back to the main theme of Obangsaek here and were treated to a piece performed on the keyboard, kayagum, flute and traditional percussion (kanggwari, jang-go, jing, buk).

The traditional music played was a warm mix of familiar Korean sounds which fit well with the concept the show was attempting to put forward to its wide and diverse audience. The music helped to pull together the interpretation of the five traditional colours of Korea and drew in interest from all areas of the vast space.

I found that all aspects of the event had an unusual but beautiful way of drawing people from all corners, much like the five points of a compass (another declaration of Obangsaek). This enabled the listeners and viewers to clearly define the identity to which Korea has started to become accustomed and famous for; it’s beauty and art, and this show was a fine representation of both these things.

[slickr-flickr tag=”OBangSaek” api=”965b9b4b50f8cd50789fc646810f9ff6″]
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Co-founder and Editor at Beyond Hallyu
Lover of Korean hip-hop and indie music...and Unicorns.