New exhibition in London's V&A to explore rise of South Korean pop culture

  • Arts
  • Thursday, 14 Jul 2022

Among the exhibits at the V&A exhibition 'Hallyu! The Korean Wave' in London will be costumes from the hit Netflix series 'Squid Game'. Photo: AFP

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 this September, 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.

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.

South Korean rapper Psy released “Gangnam Style” a decade ago, and his role to help usher in the global streaming revolution will be explored in the exhibition. Photo: HandoutSouth Korean rapper Psy released “Gangnam Style” a decade ago, and his role to help usher in the global streaming revolution will be explored in the exhibition. Photo: Handout

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.

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.

"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," said Rosalie Kim, the curator of Hallyu! The Korean Wave.

"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 at the V&A in London from Sept 24 to June 25, 2023.

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