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When Korean art meets Hong Kong: Discover more on “Future Figments” with PBG’s CEO Sue Kim and artists Kwon Hana and Moon Hyeongtae


Since the opening of South Korea art brand PBG’s first overseas exhibition “Future Figments”  at CEMENT, cultural-commerce destination K11 MUSEA’s modular creative- and community-driven space, it has opened an opportunity for Hong Kongers to take a glimpse into the South Korean contemporary art scene.


“Future Figments” features 10 internationally renowned and up-and-coming artists from South Korea, including painters Kwon Hana, Man Wook, Moon Hyeongtae and Kim Jihee, toy and sculpture designers Tobey and Coolrain, illustrators JeJn and Kim Jungyoun, graphic artist and painter Grafflex, and deconstructed sneaker artist Rudyindahouse.


Read Also: “Art brand PBG bringing the Korean art boom to K11 MUSEA in Hong Kong

Emergence of South Korea as an arts and culture hub

In recent years, South Korea is emerging as an arts and culture hub much like Hong Kong. As an insider, PBG CEO Sue Kim has shared insights about her observation of this exponential art boom.


From Kim’s view, art was mainly appreciated by a small group of people, but the norm has changed with new blood in the scene as he has noticed a significant surge in interest and demand for art among the general public in Korea in recent years. 


“The so-called ‘MZ’ generation is showing a keen interest in art and actively participating in art collecting, driving the development of the art market,” Kim said.


On the other hand, the cultural landscape of Korea has been prosperous with the international export of K-pop, K-movies, K-dramas, and the like. Kim finds it beneficial to the growth of art in the country as these different channels and formats of  content allow for many to engage with Korean culture in many different ways. 

Artists outweighing artworks

“PBG's mission is to showcase these hidden gems of artists to the world. Moreover, we aim to achieve sustainable growth through strategic management, ensuring our activities are continuous and aligned with the artists' long-term artistic journeys,” Kim said. 


Instead of artworks, it is the artists that are valued the most by the art brand because of the distinct characteristics of each and every one, as Kim said another of PBG’s aim is to “grow together with the artists by honing in on their unique identity”. This is the brand’s distinct philosophy: PBG delves into understanding how each artist approaches their work, their thoughts, and their unique way of life, striving to convey their process to the public. 


Exhibiting in Hong Kong

With “Future Figments”, Kim sees it as an excellent opportunity for participating artists because of the unique characteristics of the city.


“Hong Kong is emerging once again as a center of art,” Kim said, adding that as “the city maintains its position as a cultural hub in Asia,” the region’s cultural uniqueness “allows for the presentation of diverse forms of art that transcend class, race, and age” just like the aim of PBG.


Kim also feels that when artworks are presented in high-traffic commercial areas like K11 MUSEA that “stands out as an exceptional commercial venue”, it “allows art to become more approachable and familiar to the general public.”

Interview with artists Kwon Hana and Moon Hyeongtae

Chatting with two participating artists in “Future Figments”, painters Kwon Hana and Moon Hyeongtae, we take a dive into their artistic journeys, the inspirations behind their artworks, and their collaboration with PBG.


Kwon Hana

Born in South Korea in 1990, Kwon Hana graduated from Art Center College of Design in California, U.S.A. with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Illustration Design. In Kwon’s paintings, she tends to infuse the memories of the happy moments in her life in hopes of bringing warmth and joy to the viewers.


The cartoonish protagonist in your paintings seems to be telling different stories through your use of colors and at times words. From your first solo exhibition “Nostalgia” in April 2023 to this group show with PBG, what is the message you want to convey with your art? Has it changed upon completing your first solo exhibition?


I draw every moment I want to remember and express the various and honest feelings I feel through "Nana" that projected myself. As I recorded my memories with pictures, I realized that every moment that would become a memory over time is precious and happiness is always by my side. Sometimes I was afraid that precious memories would be forgotten, but I realized that memories stay with me forever as long as I remember. I want to convey to the world that all memories are precious and happiness is always by our side.

Any interesting or fun stories about the pieces you’ve selected for this show? Why these pieces in particular?


I'd like to talk about Popcorn Girl. When I smell popcorn somewhere, I think of memories with my old boyfriend. Sometimes I miss the days when we enjoyed eating popcorn together at the movie theater. I wash my hair with popcorn-scented shampoo to remember the smell.


As a participant in the “Future Figments” exhibition, what do you hope to bring to audiences in Hong Kong with your selected works?

For me, the process of drawing is great happiness and joy. I want to convey through my paintings that every little thing I go through in my daily life can be a special subject for painting, and that life is full of happiness and joy every moment. I hope Nana will be a good friend who can share happiness and joy.

Moon Hyeongtae

Moon was born in South Korea in 1976. His artworks depict his daily life and routines that are enhanced with his use of thick and splendid colors of matiere. Meanwhile, his works were featured in numerous key galleries and museums such as Gana Art Center in Seoul. He broke his personal auction record of US$48,339 with his work Merry Go Round in 2021.


Your artworks express a cartoonish surrealism enhanced with your use of thick colors and lines. What about Jean Dubuffet and CoBrA’s art inspired you to create art?


What to make, and how to express it. These were the two questions that inspired me. When you are accustomed to elite education and institutional frameworks, the joy of drawing can be transformed into the responsibility of creation. This is also a trap for artists. I also realized that the work that follows simple and straightforward expression leads to more interpretations. My sculpture is making, and my painting is drawing.


The warm tones of your paintings are achieved by using a mixture of soil and water, repeatedly covering and skimming the canvas. With this process, how long does it take to complete a painting? How did this technique come about? What about this technique is unique in achieving the ambient ochre that’s present in all your paintings?


My work can be completed in a few hours or take days. This is because I do not follow a set process. After experiencing the death of my family, I realized that the issue of life and death is very close to me. Death is not limited to the separation of our physical bodies. Every day, humans endure the shock of separation, big and small. From shoes that have shrunk to fit, to a book that has been read, we live with the loss of things that we once held dear.


I wanted to embed the importance of living in all of the stories that I create. When the soil is applied and removed, any color is dyed like a sunset. This gives a sense of visual unity and stability. The surface left with the dust is rough, so the brush used for one point of work is discarded as a disposable item. This is because the bristles of the brush are all worn out. The small brush bristles attached to the surface can also create a shimmering matiere effect under the gallery lighting. I like the way the process is left more deeply than the result. I think this technique encompasses the character, expression, and attitude of the work.

Many of your works feature characters in a relationship (a couple, family, society). Is there one theme or story that connects all your works? Could you explain the numbering system or relationship codes you use in your paintings? How did that come about?


I wanted to show society in a reduced form by using the images of lovers and families, which are the minimum units of all relationships. This is because looking at individuals within a group is the basis of understanding humans. It is also my image as a lover, a family member, and myself. I also write numbers to summarize the meaning of my work. 1 is oneself, 2 is relationship, 3 is family, 4 is society, and 5 is loneliness. The numbers serve as a commentary that allows the viewer to focus on the theme of the work, and they also become literary elements that help the viewer to read the work.


K11 MUSEA is a cultural-commerce destination, where art, culture, and commerce happen all in one space. To artists such as yourself, how important is it to have these kinds of spaces? Do you foresee any opportunities for future collaborations?


Artists always have an infinite vision. However, we have always experienced limitations in the way we show it. Instead of the work changing for the sake of the public, the point where art meets the public should change. In this sense, it is a welcome development that cultural and commercial spaces are being created. It should not be limited to the exhibition of works, but should be a complex collaboration of painting, performance, installation, lecture, fashion, and video. I expect that the meaning of the space will be further enhanced when people who find these spaces realize that they are not just spectators, but members of the current culture that is being created together.



“Future Figments” features several renowned and up-and-coming artists from South Korea. With the exponentially growing art scene in South Korea, how important is it to showcase your art in other countries? What other synergies do you hope to see between South Korea and Hong Kong, or the world?


I do not believe that the rapid growth of Korean art means that Korean artists and works have rapidly prospered in recent years. The influence of K-pop and K-dramas has been a huge factor in promoting Korean culture around the world. The novelty of a different culture feels fresh, but I think that shared experiences concerning the human focus are the starting point for breaking down the walls between unfamiliar cultures. I believe that K-pop and K-dramas have become popular because these elements have been discovered. I hope that our common points will be discovered through different types of art, even when the environments and languages are different. I  think the greatest synergy comes from the experience of facing the present age as a contemporary human being, not as a Hong Konger or a Korean.




July 11 – 30

11am – 9pm


18 Salisbury Road, Victoria Dockside, Tsim Sha Tsui

Hong Kong