New V&A exhibit to explore rise of South Korean popular culture

·2-min read
New V&A exhibit to explore rise of South Korean popular culture

An upcoming Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) exhibition will explore the rise of South Korean popular culture from its early origins to its place on the global stage.

Opening in September 2022, Hallyu! The Korean Wave will feature around 200 objects including K-pop costumes and props alongside photography, sculpture, fashion, video and pop culture collectables.

Among the pieces will be an immersive re-creation of the bathroom from the 2019 thriller Parasite and costumes from the hit Netflix series Squid Game.

A film still from Parasite which has emerged victorious at the Oscars (Curzon)
A film still from Parasite which has emerged victorious at the Oscars (Curzon)

Also on display will be key outfits worn by different generations of K-pop stars from PSY to Aespa and BTS.

It will also present works from artists including Nam June Paik, Ham Kyungah and Gwon Osang and around 20 high fashion looks by designers such as Tchai Kim, Miss Sohee and Minju Kim.

The exhibition will delve into the meaning of its title by exploring the phenomenon known as hallyu – meaning Korean Wave – which is the increase in global popularity of South Korean culture since the 1990s.

The rise first began rippling across Asia before reaching all corners of the world and later challenging global pop culture today.

Tchai KimYoungjin Hanbok Collection, 2015. Image courtesy of ygkplus, BAE YOON YOUNG
Tchai KimYoungjin Hanbok Collection, 2015. Image courtesy of ygkplus, BAE YOON YOUNG

The exhibit will utilise cinema, drama, music and fandoms to help explore the topic and highlight the cultural impact it has had across industries, particularly in the world of beauty and fashion.

Rosalie Kim, the curator of Hallyu! The Korean Wave, said: “South Korea has captivated the world over with hallyu, its vibrant and creative popular culture, which has transformed the country’s image from one devastated by the Korean War to that of a leading cultural powerhouse in the era of social media and digital culture today.

“This phenomenon has been amplified by tech-savvy and socially conscious global fanbases, further raising the profile and relevance of Hallyu around the world, and we’re delighted to be bringing its energy and dynamism to the V&A this autumn in the first exhibition of its kind.”

The exhibition Hallyu! The Korean Wave will run from September 24 2022 to June 25 2023.

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