A long awaited union has been conceived, much to the convenience of the international artists residing in South Korea. Martyn Thompson, founder of Professional Artist Network Korea, and Mike Stewart, head of IAC, have finally joined forces and combined their like-minded (and overlapping) sister organizations. Both groups strove to provide a network for international and domestic artists in a vibrant art community whose only downfall was its ever-changing character due to turn-over from its members. This of course is not a problem unique to these groups, and is a fact felt by all foreign-lead communities abroad. By combining these twin groups, there were finally be a central, singular community for both the recently-immigrated and veteran travelers alike.
As a printmaker by trade, my first self-made contact in Korea was in fact Mike Stewart. While meeting at Jankura to talk about possible printing contacts, he duly informed me of the expanse of foreigners who were involved and invested in the community. While not doubting him, it wasn’t something I truly felt until the first PANK exhibition I attended. The idea that it was happening, that foreign artists were exhibiting and creating despite their seeming remoteness was a realization exhilarating to me. Clearly I am not alone in that sentiment, for both groups (and both artists) have been written about extensively in Groove Magazine previously.
The new group, named Art Network Korea, promises itself as a titan and true leader among artist groups in Korea. It may sound a steep and lofty promise, however this group has all the right makings for such a promise, and when seen in conjunction with their well-articulated goals and ideas, it appears as the obvious future.
The official launch in celebrating of this merging will be appropriately heralded with the new group’s first exhibition. This exhibition, entitled ‘Mirror Mirror,’ explores the human condition by use of self-portraiture. Dealing with everything from the psychological effects of unrealistic beauty standards, formal shape with abstracted anatomic movement, to internet self-marketing through use of selfies, this exhibition is never more relevant, and at the same time truly of a timeless idea. The roster boasts a robust artist list for 2D works and will include a performance piece as well as a musical performance. Martyn sums it best himself by stating “This exhibition pulls together a collection of self-portraits from artists from across the globe, and tackle issues from human emotion, cultural, and philosophical aspects of the artist’s identity to the physical representation of the form of the artists face in new and challenging ways.” The exhibition and launch party will take place between June 27th to July 11th with a launch party schedule for Saturday, June 27th beginning at 5pm. The exhibition will be held at Gallery M in Jongro-gu.
This event will prove to be an excellently curated exhibition as well as an imperative networking opportunity for those looking to be involved or find out more about this active and diverse community of individuals.
For more information about Art Network Korea and this exhibition be sure to visit their official website here