Art Diary

Hallyu! The Korean Wave

30 September 2022

Taking in everything from Squid Game to BTS, this exhibition (24 September–25 June 2023) at the Victoria and Albert Museum explores the staggering global impact of the popular culture of South Korea, which since the 1990s has been referred to as the Hallyu, or ‘Korean wave’. From the war-torn 1950s through to present day, the exhibition highlights South Korea’s rapid cultural evolution by pin-pointing the significance of landmark events such as Seoul Summer Olympics in 1988 through a display of original merchandise and archive materials. Contemporary hanbok (Korean clothing) is a primary focus of the exhibition, with highlights including a display of two outfits worn by the contemporary pop phenomenon BTS. In a section dedicated to rituals in Korean skincare, works such as Beauty Adorning Herself (18th–19th century) by Joseon period painter Kim Hong-Do reveal the historical traditions behind today’s trends in K-Beauty. The exhibition also includes the original bathroom set from Bong Joon-Ho’s award-winning Parasite (2019). Find out more on the V&A’s website.

Preview below | View Apollo’s Art Diary here

Beauty Adorning Herself (18th–19th century), attributed to Kim Hong-Do. © Seoul National University

Mirage Stage (1986), Nam June Paik. © Nam June Paik Estate

Peony Dress, from the ‘Girl in Full Bloom’ collection (2020), designed by Miss Sohee. Photo: Daniel Sachon.