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V&A will organize the first major exhibition of Korean culture in Great Britain | V&A

An immersive recreation of the bathroom set from the Oscar-winning film Parasite, as well as costumes and props from the popular Netflix Squid Game series will be shown at the UK’s first major Korean culture exhibition.

Hallyu! The Korean Wave will open in September at London’s V&A to celebrate South Korea’s colorful and dynamic popular culture, from its early beginnings to its place on the world stage today.

The phenomenon known as “hallyu” – which means Korean wave – gained prominence in the late 1990s and has continued into cinema, drama, music and fandom. Rosalie Kim, curator of the new exhibition, said Korea has today become “a leading cultural power”.

Other items you can see are costumes worn by different generations of K-pop idols, from Psy to Aespa and ATEEZ. There will also be monumental works of art, incl. Nam June Paika, Hama Kyungaha and Gwona Osanga; about 20 high fashion stylizations by incl. Tchai Kim, Miss Sohee and Minju Kim

Early examples of advertising and branding will also appear, including the original Seoul Olympics poster and the first Korean brand cosmetic from the 1910s.

Peony dress from Miss Sohee, graduation collection 2020: The Girl in Full Bloom. Photographer: Daniel Sachon

“South Korea has captivated the entire world of hallyu with its vibrant and creative popular culture that has transformed the image of a country devastated by the Korean War into a leading cultural power in the era of social media and today’s digital culture,” said Kim.

“This phenomenon has been amplified by tech-savvy and socially conscious global fans, further raising the profile and importance of hallyu worldwide. We are happy that we can bring her energy and dynamism to V&A this fall at the first exhibition of its kind ”.

There will be around 200 items on display in four thematic sections, including some loans not previously seen in the UK. It opens with the hit single PSY from 2012, Gangham Style, with the singer’s iconic pink jacket. The song and its dance moves became a sensation overnight after its release in 2012, and became the first music video to reach a billion views on YouTube.

Section one, “from rubble to smartphones,” shows how South Korea evolved from a war-ravaged country in the late 1950s to a country with a huge cultural influence. The 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul changed the country’s image abroad for the first time.

Section two, “Setting the Stage,” focuses on the success of K-drama and the movie, and includes Squid’s iconic Pink Ranger costumes and green tracksuits, which reached number one on Netflix in 94 territories and became the most watched series in the world in streamer’s history. . Within 28 days of its release, the show had a remarkable 1.65 billion viewing hours.

A scene from Squid Game that achieved number one spot on Netflix in 94 territories.
A scene from Squid Game that achieved number one spot on Netflix in 94 territories. Photo: Noh Juhan | Netflix

Meanwhile, the bathroom set from Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite, which won four Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film in 2019, will be re-enacted under the supervision of Lee Ha-jun’s production designer. . The bathroom in the Kim family’s banjiha, the basement apartment, will be recreated for the first time.

There will also be caps from the zombie Kingdom series and the Handmaiden grooming kit. The global groove section delves into the explosion of K-pop music around the world and the role social media and fandoms play in increasing their reach, while the insider section focuses on K-beauty and fashion.


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