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London eyes Korean art, again

Standard Chartered Bank, London’s Saatchi Gallery and Korean Eye once again rolled up their sleeves to promote Korean art in Britain.

The exhibition “Korean Eye: Fantastic Ordinary” will feature works by 12 Korean contemporary artists at Saatchi Gallery, one of Britain’s most prominent galleries.

The gallery had only lent the venue for last year’s exhibition titled “Korean Eye: Moon Generation,” but decided to take a bigger role this year as one of the organizers.

“A year ago, we started the inaugural Korean Eye exhibition and did not know it would have such an immediate success. More than 40,000 people visited the exhibition within two weeks so it was extended four times and was there for over three months,” said David Ciclitira, founder of Korean Eye, at the press conference on Tuesday.

Phillips de Pury enabled sales of the exhibits at last year’s show but since the auction house is not participating this year, the focus will be less on sales and more on the quality of the exhibition. 

“The Costume of Painter — Phantom of Museum D. W. House harp ds” by Bae Joon-sung Korean Eye
“The Costume of Painter — Phantom of Museum D. W. House harp ds” by Bae Joon-sung Korean Eye
A bigger and more international board of curators including Johnson Chang, director of Hanart Gallery in China, Amelie von Wedel, director of Wedel Fine Art, Serenella Ciclitira, Korean Eye Co-Founder and Honorary Fellow of Royal College of Arts, Rodman Primack, Philips de Pury Chairman, Jiyoon Lee, director of Suum Art Project in Korea, and Lee Dae-hyung, director of H-Zone in Korea, promised a high-quality exhibition.

“We are showcasing more works by a smaller number of artists this time, so this exhibition will be an opportunity to take an in-depth look at Korean contemporary art,” said Lee Dae-hyung.

The participating artists, including Bae Joon-sung, Kim Hyun-soo, Shin Mee-kyoung and Bae Chan-hyo, are younger, and their work is more experimental compared to the art in last year’s exhibition.

Another notable point about the exhibition is that it is heading for more world markets.

“This year we have expanded the boundaries of the exhibition to start in London at the Saatchi Gallery, then move on to Singapore in September and finally on to Seoul to coincide with the G20 Summit in November,” said Ciclitira.

Standard Chartered Bank increased its support fund from $60,000 to $600,000 this year for the traveling exhibition. It also announced its plans to support the big scale Korean contemporary art exhibition which is planned during the London Olympics in 2012, using the entire Saatchi Gallery exhibition space.

Korean Eye exhibition plans to continue for two more years and expand its venues to more international cities in the United Arab Emirates, China and Japan.

The organizers are publishing “Korean Eye Contemporary Korean Art,” a book on Korean contemporary art, in English as well. The book will be launched on July 5.

“The Korean Eye book, published by SKIRA, will become the first English-language book on Korean contemporary art and artists,” said Ciclitira.

The exhibition will first run from July 3-18 at Saatchi Gallery in London and then move to Singapore on September and back in Seoul on November. For more information, go to

By Park Min-young   (