RM, the global K-pop group BTS leader, is well known as an art collector and a museumgoer. There are many other pop star art collectors, but RM has been especially open about showing his taste in art.
Since each group member opened their Instagram accounts last December, RM has frequently posted about his visits to art museums, galleries, and artist studios, attracting many people’s attention to the art world.
It seems like RM’s taste is more toward the 1970s and 1980s Korean modernists, such as Yun Hyong-keun, Lee Ufan, Lee Bae, and Kwon Jinkyu. But he has also been filling his Instagram feeds with contemporary works of big-name artists, such as Choi Jeong Hwa, widely known for his large-scaled kitschy installations, Ahn Eun-Me, a performance artist and choreographer and Hyungkoo Lee who creates pseudoscience-like installations.
Yet RM’s interest is not only leaning toward world-renowned artists but also toward emerging and mid-career artists who are lesser-known to the public. Here are three Korean contemporary artists whose works are up on his Instagram.
Artist Hong Young In’s Thi and Anjan was posted on RM’s Instagram on February 4, 2022. The work was on view during Hong’s solo exhibition, We Where, which ran until February 26 at PKM Gallery in Seoul. The exhibition can be viewed online at the PKM Gallery website.
The artwork consists of elephant shoes made of straws and collected sounds from places where people can encounter elephants, such as forests and zoos. Thi is the name of the grandmother elephant, and Anjan is the name of Thi’s granddaughter. Each pair of shoes belonging to the two elephants was made in collaboration with Korean straw craft masters Lee Chung-kyung and Park Yeon-hwa.
Hong created the piece after observing the elephant community at Chester Zoo in England to show that the formation of communities is not exclusive to humans.
Hong’s primary interest is discussing equality and breaking down the power of hierarchy. Thus, using various media such as installation, performance, sound, drawing, and embroidery, Hong touches on subject matters related to the relationship between humans and animals, the low-wage labor of Asian women, and the socially oppressed women’s bodies.
Hong Young In (b. 1972) was shortlisted in the Korea Artists Prize 2019 exhibition at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA) and won the Kimsechoong Art Prize (Seoul, 2011) and the Suk-Nam Art Prize of the Suk-Nam Art Foundation (Seoul, 2003).
Hong has been featured in numerous international institutions, including Leicester Museum & Art Gallery (Leicester, 2022), the Asia Culture Center (Gwangju, 2020), the ICA Studio & Theatre (London, 2015), and the Artsonje Centre (Seoul, 2014).
Sunwoo Hoon’s Testing Time, which looks like a captured image of a pixel game, was uploaded on May 17. The pixelated image is on view at On My Way to the Museum at the Busan Museum of Art until October 16, 2022.
Sunwoo Hoon is a webcomic artist and visual artist who creates digital images with pixels, the smallest element in a raster image. To Sunwoo, pixels are the most democratic element in creating his works: since every pixel has the same size, these dots do not constitute any hierarchy within the screen, and the whole picture can be formed only when these pixels are gathered. These characteristics of digital dots allow Sunwoo Hoon to create his artworks.
On My Way to the Museum is an exhibition that has gathered the contemporary artworks of thirteen artists to discuss today’s leisure and free-time culture. Sunwoo has created an interactive work where viewers can take a test to identify what kind of leisure activities they enjoy, from sixty-four types. The participants’ results are visualized into pixel art on a digital screen.
Sunwoo Hoon (b. 1989) has participated in numerous exhibitions, including Highlight, Fondation Cartier’s collection exhibition at the Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA) in 2017; Imagined Borders of the 12th Gwangju Biennale in 2018; and Olympic Effect: Korean Architecture and Design from 1980s to 1990s at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in 2021.
RM’s post on March 3, 2022, includes an artwork from ARTSPECTRUM 2022, an artist award exhibition held at the Leeum Museum of Art until July 3, 2022. When One’s Home is Happy, All Goes Well is a participatory installation work by artist Park Seong Jun.
The space, like a theater stage, has household items typically used in 1980s Korea, such as the national flag of Korea, an old-style cathode-ray tube television, a folding screen, and a mirror inlaid with mother-of-pearl, a rubber basin, and an iron door. The exhibition space is also filled with audio-visual effects, such as blinking lights, songs from the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games, the sound of screaming, and anachronistic conversations.
Park aimed to express the oppressiveness, absurdity, and authoritarianism in Korean society through a theatrical setting that recalls the 1980s Korea as it was one of the most suppressive periods in South Korea’s history.
Park creates videos, interactive installations, and media performances to describe the conflict between the desire and anxiety of human beings by deconstructing and reconstructing cinematographic codes in his works.
Park Seong Jun (b. 1979) is one of the selected artists for the 2022 Paradise Art Lab (Korea) and has participated in exhibitions at numerous institutions in Korea, including Post Territory Ujeongguk (Seoul, 2020), Seokyo Art experiment center (Seoul, 2017), and Culture Station Seoul 284 (Seoul, 2016).