Kimchi and Chips: Halo

8 – 27 June 2018

Free, Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court

In the month of the summer solstice, a major courtyard installation brings the sun down to earth, in a heady alchemy of nature and technology, developed by Anglo-Korean duo Kimchi and Chips

This June, a large-scale, futuristic sculpture – consisting of over 100 mirrors that track the movements of the sun – will set in Somerset House’s spectacular neoclassical courtyard. The innovative installation creates a seemingly otherworldly halo – a shape suspended in the air above Somerset House - but it is, in fact, produced from the power of the sun.

Devised and designed by Seoul-based experimental art studio Kimchi and Chips (founded by Mimi Son and Elliot Woods), Kimchi and Chips: Halo invites audiences to look at one of London’s favourite public spaces through a magical new lens, and to consider how the potential of one of the world’s most precious natural resources can be harnessed sustainably.

Situated within Somerset House’s famous fountains, Kimchi and Chips: Halo is constructed of two 4-metre-high towers and one 15-metre-long track, which feature around 100 heliostats – motorised mirrors that move in line with the sun throughout the day – and groups of fine water jets. The mix of mist and mirrors will reflect the rays of the summer sun and redirect it to draw a halo, formed entirely of natural light and floating in mid-air, suggesting how nature and technology can cross-pollinate in powerfully positive ways.

Next to the courtyard, an open studio will reveal the inner workings and ideas of the ingenious installation, with the opportunity to meet the team behind it on special occasions. This space will also showcase previous works of Kimchi and Chips, which often study the intersection between the material and immaterial, and aim to actualise fictional states into physical experiences.

For Kimchi and Chips, the site of their new piece is particularly apt; Somerset House was the longstanding location of the Royal Society, the world’s oldest independent scientific academy, where astronomical discoveries, such as the existence of Uranus, were first reported. In a mirror image of times past and present, Kimchi and Chips: Halo echoes the endeavours of such prominent pioneers of astronomical sciences across Europe, who used to engineer enormous architectural sun tracking devices to precisely pinpoint the date of the summer solstice.

One of Kimchi and Chips’ ongoing series is ‘Drawing in the Air’, which inspires this latest work. The Anglo-Korean duo were the first to draw artworks in the air with condensed light; in 2014, ‘Light Barrier’ crossed millions of calibrated digital light beams to create ephemeral 3D effects at New Media Night Festival in Nikola-Lenivets, Russia.

For the first time, however, Kimchi and Chips: Halo focuses fully natural, rather than artificial, light to form this installation. Bringing the sun down to earth will wholly depend upon the strength of the sun, creating an experience which constantly evolves and to which the artists will have to respond daily.

Kimchi and Chips: Halo follows the contemporary tradition of large-scale, open-air works over the spring-summer season at Somerset House, with former installations including Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads and John Gerrard: Western Flag.

Over the spring-summer 2018 season, Somerset House presents an inspiring series of artworks and activities, connecting nature and technology, to showcase how contemporary artists contribute to our critical understanding of the world around us in new ways. It includes The Unseen: Choropleth, a new flag commission from 22 April. Flying over Somerset House at the same time as Kimchi and Chips: Halo, the unique flag uses revolutionary inks, which react to triggers such as temperature, light and air quality, to reflect in real-time the impact of pollution and climatic changes in the environment around Somerset House.

Halo is co-commissioned by Arts Council Korea and Arts Council England Joint Fund and 2017 Gwangju Design Biennale. Presented by Somerset House with the Korean Cultural Centre UK.


For press enquiries, please contact:
Stephanie Pilling // Deputy Head of PR // // 0207 845 4624


Dates: 8 – 27 June 2018

Times: Check for daily schedule

Tickets: Free

Address: Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA

Transport: Underground: Temple, Embankment / Rail: Charing Cross, Waterloo, Blackfriars

Website: Somerset House

Facebook: Somerset House

Twitter: @SomersetHouse Somerset House

Instagram: @SomersetHouse

Hashtag: #kimchiandchips

About Somerset House

Inspiring contemporary culture

A unique part of the London cultural scene, Somerset House is an historic building where surprising and original work comes to life. From its 18th-century origins, Somerset House has been a centre for debate and discussion – an intellectual powerhouse for the nation. Somerset House is today a key cultural destination in London in which to experience a broad range of artistic activity, engage with artists, designers and makers and be a part of a major creative forum – an environment that is relaxed, welcoming, and inspirational to visit while providing a stimulating workplace for the cultural and creative industries.

Since its opening in 2000, Somerset House has built up a distinctive outdoor public programme including Skate, concerts, an open-air film season and a diverse range of temporary exhibitions throughout the site focusing on contemporary culture, with an extensive learning programme attached. In October 2016, Somerset House launched Somerset House Studios, a new experimental workspace connecting artists, makers and thinkers with audiences. The Studios provide a platform for new creative projects and collaboration, promoting work that pushes bold ideas, engages with urgent issues and pioneers new technologies. Somerset House is also one of the biggest community of creative organisations in London including The Courtauld Gallery and Institute of Art, King’s College London Cultural Institute and over 100 other creative businesses. It currently attracts approximately 3.4 million visitors every year.

About Arts Council Korea and Arts Council England Joint Fund
Arts Council England and Arts Council Korea announce a cultural exchange partnership to fund 21 performing and visual arts projects in South Korea and England. The £1.4m (2 billion KRW) fund will develop artistic talent and collaboration between English and South Korean artists, while offering further opportunities to English arts organisations in South Korea.

The partnership between the two Councils has been supported by the British Council in Korea to complement the UK-Korea 2017/18 cultural season. The Arts Council funding of these Korean collaborations is part of its £18m investment in international exchange, partnership and growth.

Through developing this partnership, some of the funded projects will start in March 2017, developing immediate outcomes, whilst others will enable longer-term arts exchanges between South Korea and England. The projects include a number of residency exchange projects for visual artists and opportunities for emerging talents in each country to co-create new work designed to bring extraordinary original work to new audiences.

About Gwangju Design Biennale
The Gwangju Design Biennale is administered by the City of Gwangju and Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. Last year’s design expo, ‘Gwangju Design Biennale 2017’ was hosted by the Gwangju Design Center Foundation. The event took place at Biennale Exhibition halls and the national Asia Cultural Center in Gwangju, from Sept.8 through Oct.23, 2017.

About Korean Cultural Centre UK

The Korean Cultural Centre UK (KCCUK) was opened by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in January 2008 under the aegis of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea. The role of the KCCUK is to further enhance friendship, amity and understanding between Korea and the UK through cultural and educational activities. From the KCCUK's central London location near Trafalgar Square, its dedicated cultural team work to further develop cultural projects, introduce new opportunities to expand their Korean events programme in the UK, and encourage cultural exchange.

About the Korea/UK Season

The Korea / UK season is a programme of extensive cultural activities taking place across the UK. The season will see multiple institutions present exhibitions, performances, residencies, workshops and public art installations of Korean artists, from 2017 - 2018. The KCCUK is lead partner of the season, supporting external projects as well as hosting exhibitions. Collaborating institutions include Art Night, AV Festival, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, British Ceramic Biennial, Delfina Foundation, Eastside Projects, Fact, Frieze London, Gasworks, Hayward Gallery, ICA, Liverpool Biennial, Locus +, London Craft Week, The New Art Exchange, SPACE studios, Spike Island, Serpentine Galleries, The Showroom, Somerset House, V&A and Wysing Arts Centre. The Korea / UK season runs parallel to the UK / Korea season which takes place in Korea, and is supported by the British Council. Both seasons endeavour to strengthen the relationship between the two countries and form new cultural and creative partnerships.