London exhibition celebrates 'Squid Game' and Psy in South Korea pop culture display

Dozens of works from hit TV shows, films and K-pop are on show at the V&A Museum

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Psy’s Gangnam Style, Netflix’s Squid Game and Oscar-winning film Parasite are some of the biggest things to have come out of South Korea in the last decade.

Now, items such as the pink jacket worn by Psy in the music video, Squid Game's unmistakable pink guard outfits — long debated as appearing red on screen by fans — and green tracksuit and an immersive bathroom set from Parasite are on display with other items as part of a new exhibition called Hallyu! The Korean Wave at the V&A Museum in London.

"This exhibition is actually celebrating the vibrant and colourful popular culture from South Korea from its inception to its place on the global stage. 'Hallyu' actually means Korean wave and it refers to this meteoric rise of popular culture from South Korea that has taken the world by storm in the past few decades," curator Rosalie Kim told Reuters.

The exhibition is split into four parts and explores how South Korean culture has grown to become as popular as it is today. The first section looks at how the country rapidly evolved into a cultural powerhouse through electronics, such as creating the world’s first commercial MP3 player.

Another part focuses on K-drama and cinema including Squid Game and Parasite. There is a recreated bathroom set from the film. Other costumes and props include hats from the Netflix zombie series Kingdom as well as a section for webtoons, which are sometimes adapted into K-dramas.

There’s also a special section dedicated to music. Highlights include a three-metre-high sculpture of rapper G-Dragon and colourful ensembles worn by K-pop groups Aespa and Ateez. There’s also a special interactive K-pop dance challenge that visitors can attempt by matching dance moves for Psy’s That That, a collaboration with BTS member Suga.

The last section takes a closer look at K-beauty and fashion. There’s a showcase of more than 20 looks by contemporary hanbok and fashion designers from South Korea. Meanwhile, K-beauty spans from cosmetics packaged in the 13th century to present day items to show how it evolved.

Hallyu! The Korean Wave opens on Saturday and runs until June at V&A in London.

Updated: September 24, 2022, 4:51 AM