Who will lead British art after YBAs?

  • Published : Mar 30, 2010 - 15:05
  • Updated : Mar 30, 2010 - 15:05

For many, the Young British Artists would be the first thing that comes to mind at the mention of British art.
Ever since their debut through the legendary exhibition "Freeze" in 1988, the YBAs, led by Damien Hurst, have not only achieved stardom but have greatly influenced the world`s contemporary art market.
But the YBAs are no longer "young" and market insiders are anxious to find out who will take up the baton and continue the success of British art.
Far from England, Total Museum of Contemporary Art in Pyeongchang-dong suggests some answers, by introducing some British artists who have entered their heydays and are often referred to as the next YBAs.
The exhibition "London Calling: Who Gets to Run the World" features various paintings, installations, sculptures and video works of eight artists including Phillip Allen, Fiona Banner, David Batchelor, Dryden Goodwin, Peter McDonald, Nathaniel Rackowe, Gary Webb and Martin Creed.
Exhibition curators Yu Eun-bok and Lim Jeong-ae, who usually introduced Korean contemporary art to Britain, went for the opposite work for a change: introducing British work here. Based upon their many years of experiences in London, Yu and Lim have brought some "real British works" to Seoul.
"It is true that Britains diversified cultural background has helped create today`s British art, which is so globally recognized. Because of that, people tend to call any artist who currently works in Britain a `British artist,` regardless of their nationality," the curators said.
"For this exhibition, however, we`ve selected the artists who were actually born and raised in Britain and are currently working in London. Examining how they react to the international environment and connect it to their work is the key to understand today`s British art."
Among the artists, Peter MacDonald seems to have been inspired from Sept. 11. He depicted the day`s influences on British society through his work "Suspects."
Small and fragile people nervously walk past armed guards. The guards, who are highlighted at the front, look strong and cold-hearted. Simple lines and cartoon-like figures somehow add to the insecure atmosphere.
While McDonald focuses on worldwide issues, some artists, like David Batchelor, are more interested in expressing the city of London itself.
Batchelor collected plastic bottles from London streets, painted them in vivid colors and tied them together to make a chandelier.
Dryden Goodwin emphasized the "contemporary" in art by using one of the most contemporary items - an iPod.
Through his work "Searching Damien" comprised of 338 small drawings different faces and one iPod, which plays the video recording of how each one was drawn, Goodwin tried to explain the procedure of drawing, or as in his words - searching for, a person`s face.
The exhibition runs through July 26 at Total Museum of Contemporary Art in Pyeongchang-dong, central Seoul. For more information, call (02) 379-7037 or visit

By Park Min-young