Any certain period or event does not exist as graffiti was introduced to Korea. There are a rumor that it was brought into through street graffiti near American Army bases stationed in Korea, and another that it came along when hip hop music and fashion landed in Korea in the 1990s. However, neither was proved in practice and suggested the grounds.
Recently, researchers who study hip hop and the popular culture concentrate on spontaneous adoption responding to hip hop culture instead of flowing of graffiti itself. That is, characterized by its four distinct elements of D.J, M.C, B-Boy, and Graffiti, a culture originated from the Hongdae region (the surrounding area of the Hongik University) has developed.
Whatever the reason, stemmed from explosive dissemination of popular music and a cultural code of hip hop in the 1990s, cultural elements on the base are kept on continuously across culture and arts even now. Although a Hongdae club culture, Rap and D.J in the 1990s set off in an inadequate level, in particular, it is important that young people began to find how to express their liberal emotions and enjoy them.
As graffiti completely filling the entrance and walls of a club is a familiar image to those who go for hip hop, scribbles drawn on buildings nearby are not established as messy marks but as a friendly cultural code. Unlike in America and Europe, however, graffiti in Korea is more of collateral decoration than an independent cultural style.
In fact, it is true that graffiti in Korea was gradually recognized after B-Boy was awarded in the world stage in 2010. It has been a while since there have been graffiti battles like B-Boy dance battles alongside its official arena. Surprisingly, it is not acknowledged that graffiti's influence has developed to the extent that domestic writers such as Jay Flow and Artime Joe are commissioned to be members of the judging panel for the international competitions.
Apart from the public visibility, notably, reality is that the public do not understand graffiti as a cultural element representing hip hop culture. It has been simply regarded as the background or decoration and not recognized as an independent cultural element. Despite the fact that graffiti instantly received attention by 2013 Montana Korea Art Festival (11 ~ 14 July 2013), the public's sight was too cold for graffiti to have its own artistic area or cultural independence.
Korean graffiti has gained global attention in a rather short time period of twenty years. It may be a maniac outcome derived from an active attitude about Korean cultural acceptance. It is believed that this has come from being fascinated by purity of graffiti rather than the attitude or position of Korean cultural acceptance, and from understanding of how to describe the charm in our manner.
Particularly, the global proliferation of B-Boy and K-Pop cannot be ignored in the motive of attracting the global attention during such a short time period. Now, from an angle of adopting the culture, from an angle of spreading the culture embodying Korean interpretation, it is essential to view Korean graffiti more objectively.
Curator in Charge — Choi Kiyoung
Exhibition in Charge — Park Uchan(Chief Curator)
Designer — Jang Hyojin
Educator — Cho Hyejung, Son Hyejoo
Curatorial Supports — Kim Jihee, Jeon Jiyoung, Hwang Rockjoo, Lee Jinsil
Exhibition Organized by — Gyeonggi-do, Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation
Exhibition Principal Boiler by — Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art
Supported by — Korea Mecenat Association, Arts Council Korea, New Era Cap-Korea
Sponsored by — Cartel Creative Inc., STIGMA, IMMUNIZE
Editor — Hyo-Joon Choi, Director of Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art
Publisher — Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation