LONDON.- The Korean Cultural Centre is host to Crossfields, an exhibition comprising the work of 23 London based Korean artists and fashion designers that runs from 3 August until 30 September 2009.
The exhibition brings together a broad range of Korean artists, each of whom studied in Korea before coming to the UK . By taking a multidisciplinary approach, the exhibition showcases the work of fashion designers, sculptors, video artists, photographers, and painters in a celebration of the crossing and blending of cultural boundaries.
But it is the highly innovative work of eight up and coming fashion designers that is set to make this exhibition a must see. While illustrating why in recent years Seoul has become a growing fashion powerhouse, the exhibition also poses the question why do young Koreans design better?
Each fashion designer has chosen as their starting point a very specific influence from Korean history and used this to inspire their collections, which feature abstract patterns, shapes, and silhouettes.
One of these designers, Eudon Choi whose collection is inspired by the Giseng or Korean Geisha and who debuts his eponymous fashion line at London Fashion Week in September says:
Before arriving in the Westwhether to study or launch a full-fledged collection most Korean designers spend years honing their design skills back home. The fashion curriculum in Korea is very broad, it spans design, textiles, marketing, fashion psychology and business strategy. Here, it's entirely focused on developing design skills.
Eudon adds: "Korean fashion has improved a lot over the past 20 years, and designers are finally trying to get recognised. They're competing on a more international level, being exposed to more international shops and are aspiring to do better as a result."
The other fashion designers reinterpret a myriad of other historical influences to great effect. HEO Hwans Women who dived into the water explores female sacrifice in Korean history while PARK Hwan Sung is inspired by the memory of an animated television hero from his youth. CHOI Jinwoo works with the fabrics/off cuts traditionally used as table cloths or to store goods while LEE Hyun Shick is inspired by the humiliating costumes and punishments traditionally inflicted on children who wet the bed. KO Kate Yun Ju reinterprets the restrictive fashion rules of Korea and blends them with a traditional palette of colours, while LEE Chung Chung is inspired by traditional suits of armour. Finally, KIM Jae Hwan is inspired by the fashion of 1970s London with the traditional hats of the Korean Joseon Dynasty.
To mark the symbolic union of so many creative disciplines under one roof, three artists were specifically commissioned to focus upon the interior and exterior of the Korean Cultural Centre as the centrepiece of their work. Their thought-provoking pieces encourage the audience to question what is around them and to never accept anything at first glance.
The Crossfields show is curated by Stephanie Seungmin Kim and offers visitors the opportunity to see the best the current Korean art and design scene in London has to offer.