“Monologues” Korean Culture and Language Lesson

Korean language class last week was a little bit different. This time it was about culture, and expanding our vocabulary in terms of discussing paintings.

We went through some phrases relating to opinions on art before looking around the Monologues art exhibition that had decorated the London KCC for the last three months. It was wonderful to finally be able to browse the displayed paintings, and to contemplate their general meanings, as well as each of our personal perspectives on them.

After we had had a good study of the gallery, we returned to the classroom, where we folded a large piece of paper in four. Each quarter was dedicated to each of the four up-and-coming female Korean artists featured within Monologues. We used the vocab that we had been through to construct a Hangeul mind-map for what we thought of each of the artists’ work.

My "Monologues" Mind-map

Not only did it feel great to be so expressive in Korean, but I also found this exercise to be helpful in formulating a clear opinion about the artwork I had just viewed. Here are direct translations from the notes that I made within my mind-map:

Mackerel Safranski (AKA Ko Dung Oh)

The paintings are inherently violent. The imagination is remarkable. I like the style and colours. They are peculiar.

Lee Eunsil

The paintings are scary. I don’t like the atmosphere. The colouration is dull. They are depressing.

Sunny Kim

The paintings are calm. They communicate well to me and make sense to me. I like the composition.

Lee Jinju

Lee Jinju’s paintings are most to my liking. I like Surrealism pictures. I like the topic matter. They are original. They make people think a lot (are thought-provoking).

My classmates and I compared and contrasted viewpoints, and there was certainly a lot of variance in opinion. One thing was clear: Monologues wasn’t for everyone, and some found it too puzzling, cryptic, and even too disturbing, to enjoy. I do wonder what everyone else who visited thought of the paintings. I personally really enjoyed this showcase of art, the debate it sparked, and the opportunity to integrate culture into the language lessons held by the KCC. I fervently hope for more exhibitions at the KCC, and more culture-orientated K-classes!

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