With advances in media, art is no longer confined to solemn museums and we can access it anytime, anywhere. Some criticize this phenomenon, saying that the dignity of art has disappeared. However, pop art has a variety of charms because it is made with everyday materials and is full of colorful visual content. This SMT reporter looked into the world of "David Hockney & British Pop Art: 1960s Swinging London," an exhibition that shows the trend of dynamic movements created by pop culture, consumerism, and mass media.
Swim the chronicle of British pop art
What do you think England looked like in the 1960s? At that time, Britain was in a period of prosperity and optimism, surfacing from the aftermath of World War II. Based on this, British pop art emerged as a movement to commemorate the mass production culture at the time, inspired by advertising, fashion, and mass media. David Hockney and other artists created a new visual language that used images of everyday life to communicate with people. The exhibition not only allows visitors to see visual languages created by artists, but also to see the works of pop art from 1960 to the present, the background of the growth of British pop art. This exhibition was held to commemorate the 140th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Britain, so it is interesting that people can also see works that give a glimpse of past British times.
The exhibition is being held at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza Museum in Euljiro, Jung-gu, Seoul. To get there from Sookmyung Women's University, you have to walk to Sookmyung Women's University Entrance Station for about 15 minutes and take the subway bound for Seoul Station. After that, get off at Dongdaemun History and Culture Park station and walk through Exit 1 toward the exhibition building. Tickets can be purchased online in advance through Naver or on-site at the ticket office on B2. If you wish to purchase on-site, you have to purchase before 7 p.m., one hour before the end of admission.
Taste a new side of everyday materials
The exhibition includes works by 14 artists who led early British pop art as well as David Hockney. It consists of a total of 10 sections, including 1960s Swinging London, the Independent Group, Richard Hamilton, pop culture and pop art, British pop artists, and David Hockney. The Swinging London phenomenon occurred in the city, which had just emerged from the aftermath of the war and became the heart of creativity which created a new culture centered on artists. The exhibition shows the culture of the time as well as the world of works by the influential Independent Group based in London. They surprised the public with a new approach where artists, scientists, and engineers gathered to explore new forms of artistic expression and challenged existing norms of reverse culture. In this way, the exhibition breaks away from the existing framework of norms and provides the charm of art that expressed freedom in a variety of ways.
This SMT reporter would like to introduce the three most impressive sections of the ten. The first is the 1960s Swinging London section, a space visible as soon as you enter the exhibition hall. It shows London in the 1960s during a period of cultural and social freedom. British artists who were active during this period and their works are on display in chronological form. At the end of this section, a full-scale exhibition begins with a wall-filled video, which quickly and effectively shows visual images of pop art. Its visual intensity helps anyone to enjoy the popular culture that is easily accessible. This can be seen as returning art, which was the exclusive property of people with a lot of knowledge, to the public. The second section is pop culture and pop art. This space catches people's eyes due to the effect of neon signs. It illustrates well the collaboration with pop culture, which was one of the main features of British pop art. Here, visitors can enjoy the works of many pop artists, including the Beatles' iconic 1967 album cover for "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." The last section to introduce is David Hockney and Water. He took pictures from multiple viewpoints and at various hours to capture the color and shape of water that changes with light. Through the pool series, visitors can look at Hockney's examination of the plane nature of art.
The biggest strength of the exhibition is that you can see the core works of British pop art through various sections. Also, it is not necessarily limited to paintings, but there are various compositions such as being made of daily necessities like clothes and Hockney's work experience zone, which adds to the appeal of the exhibition. However, in the adult zone in the middle of the exhibition, there are so many works that sexualize women that visitors may feel uncomfortable.