Curator highlights luminaries of contemporary art

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Curator highlights luminaries of contemporary art


Miki Wick Kim, a curator, writer and art adviser based in Zurich, is one of the leading experts on contemporary Korean art in the world. The gallery she founded in her home city, Miki Wick Kim Contemporary Art, specializes in contemporary Korean art, providing advisory and curatorial services.

Her recently published book on the subject is an introductory volume that aims to shed light on contemporary artists of Korean nationality and should become a useful resource for both art experts and laypeople alike.

For art professionals, it provides an overview of some of the most important artists working today in a nicely organized manner with rich visual imagery to accompany the text.


For those who are not that familiar with the country or its art scene, the author kindly walks readers through some of the major milestones in Korean history, including the Japanese colonization and Korean War eras and on to the 1988 Olympic Games and the Gwangju Biennale, when the country and its artists started making an impression on the international community.

People outside the art world will find it a pleasant, easy read. As an introduction to contemporary Korean art, it is intriguing and informative enough to inspire further interest in the field.

It is unclear, however, which criteria the author used to select the 30 artists featured in the book. Some artists such as Bae Bien-U, Atta Kim and Yeondoo Jung are household names, while others are not as familiar, at least not in Korea.

As the author writes in the introduction, the artists she chose to highlight explore a wide spectrum of themes, genres, motifs and expressions, and it’s hard to find a common thread running through the works to tie them together as a whole.

Yet, there are elements in the works presented here that will likely trigger broad interest from the international community, such as the North Korea motif in the works of Seung Woo Back and the artistic representation of historical events in Cho Duck Hyun’s pieces, as well as the use of hanji (traditional mulberry paper) in the works of Chun Kwang-young.

By Kim Hyung-eun []
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