The Korean Cultural Center Presents Recollection: Reinterpreting Tradition and Heritage

By Editorial Team on December 18, 2019
Kim Yoohyun, Archetype 1, 130x162cm, 2018, Mixed Media. Courtesy of the Korean Cultural Center.
Currently on view through January 3, 2020.

The Korean Cultural Center Washington, D.C. proudly presents Recollection: Reinterpreting Tradition and Heritage, a group exhibition of painting, photography, and sculpture works by five Korean artists who radically reinterpret a variety of classic forms into the visual language of contemporary art. Through vastly different artistic approaches, materials, and subject matter, Jaehyug Choi, Soomin Ham, Hyeon Suk Her, Doo Yeon Jung, and Yoohyun Kim each grapple in personal terms with the apparent contradiction of a modern Korean society still deeply rooted in its cultural history. Whether those bonds to the past are merely added weight or a strengthening foundation is up to each artist to decide.

Jaehyug Choi introduces the motif symbolism of Korean folk paintings to the style of Western still life, juxtaposing the stoic hopelessness of the latter with the former’s embedded aspirations for wealth, longevity, and prosperity. Soomin Ham, after accidentally discovering old photographs that her grandfather made in the 1930s, is lead to reinterpret the meaning of these once hidden images; her visual narrative series is a reconstructed work in which past and present coexist, woven together from imagination and forgotten memories. Born in the 1980s, Hyeon Suk Her has observed and recorded the changes to her neighborhood in Korea over the course of 30 years; she depicts her vivid experiences of residential collapse and rebirth in a rapidly developing area, capturing the memories of a lost community and the architecture of Korean contemporary history. Doo Yeon Jung questions the definition of traditional oriental painting, reinterpreting the realities of Korea from a present-day point of view by allowing modern symbols to infiltrate her faux-traditional compositions. Yoohyun Kim, in reconsidering what it means to be Korean, explores emotions and aesthetics in a new formative language; through a series of three-dimensional images of Korean roof tiles and traditional rice cake patterns on canvas, Kim expresses the lives of Koreans who strive to embrace society yet harmonize with nature.

About the Artists

Jaehyug Choi received his BFA and MFA in Painting from Hongik University in Korea. He is the recipient of the first Republic of Korea Young Artists Art Destination of Excellence, the 13th Festival Special Sections, and was selected as the Gana Art Studio Jangheung 4thHe has been actively participating in various solo and group exhibitions including at the POSCO Museum of Art, Seokdang Art Museum, Sun Gallery, and Geumsan Gallery.

Soomin Ham is a photographer and multimedia artist based in the Washington, D.C. area. Ham received a Bachelor of Music in Orchestral Instruments from Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, Korea and her Master of Art in Photography and Multimedia from New York University/International Center of Photography in New York City. Her work, including photography, mixed media, and multimedia installations, has been exhibited widely throughout the Washington, D.C. area and Seoul, Korea. Ham was selected for the Art and Community Visual Arts Residency at the DCCA in Wilmington, DE. She is the recipient of several D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities grants, including an Individual Artists Fellowship Grant and a Small Projects Grant, and has received the Visual Arts Fellowship 2019-20 from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. 

Hyeon Suk Her received her BFA in Fine Art and her MFA in Visual Art at Sookmyung Women’s University in Korea. She is the recipient of the First Prize from the Gyeomjae Jeong Seon Art Museum’s Tomorrow’s Artist Awards, Bronze Medal at the Korea Young Artist Grand Prize Festival, and the Special Prize from the Metro Art Awards. She has participated in The Cheong-Ju Art Studio Residency and Seong-Buk POP UP Residency as well as various solo and group exhibitions including at the Seoul Musuem of Art, Daejeon Museum of Art, Dobong Cultural Foundation, and Busan Cultural Foundation. Her works are in the collections of the Seoul Museum of Art, Art Bank of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, Gyeomjae Jeong Seon Art Museum, Ilshin Foundation for Arts, and Chongshin Foundation. 

Doo Yeon Jung received her BFA in oriental painting at Chugye University for the Arts and her MFA from the School of Education at Korea University in Korea. She participated in the Euljiro Design Art Project and the Suncheon Creative Art Village as well as various solo and group exhibitions, including at the Seoul Arts Center, GalleryGrida, DDP/Seoul, and Seoulstaion284 in Korea.

Yoohyun Kim received her B.A. in English literature from Ewha Woman’s University. She studied fine art at the Marlyand Institute, College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland, the Corcoran School of Arts and Design in Washington, D.C., and at Parsons-Paris. She also participated in a papermaking workshop in Italy, studied pottery at Yido Pottery Academy (a leading private pottery workshop in Seoul, Korea), and received formal training in Classical Chinese from Cheonggye Academy of Korean Studies, a leading national institute in Korea for Korean studies. Kim has held solo exhibitions at Galerie Beckel Odille Boicos in Paris as well as Gana Art Gallery and AAIPS Gallery in Seoul. She has participated in group exhibitions at the Galerie Artitude and Parsons-Paris in Paris. Her pottery has also been exhibited at Yido Pottery Academy, KOEX Craft Exhibit, and the ICCA Pottery Exhibit.

The Korean Cultural Center is located at 2370 Massachusetts Ave. NW.