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Korean Connection

04 July 2018 - 28 July 2018

An exhibition celebrating some of the finest Korean jewellers, silversmiths, glass and ceramicists working in the UK and Korea today.

Featuring work from: Yun Ju Cheol, Park Hong-gu, Kyosun Jung, Choi Keeryong, Hyejeong Kim, Dong-Hyun Kim, Heeseung Koh, Inhwa Lee, William Lee, Jongjin Park, Park Seohee, Bae Sejin and Misun Won.

Born: 1984
Place of Birth: Seoul, South Korea

Kyosun Jung’s work exudes a striking combination and contrast of simple forms with expressive decoration. Her designs are well considered, thoroughly developed and beautifully crafted with inspiration drawn from nature informing the surface patterns. Kyosun completed a BA Hons Silversmithing, Goldsmithing & Jewellery course at the University for the Creative Arts in Rochester in 2014. She is currently working from the workshop of the internationally renowned silversmith Clive Burr at the Goldsmiths’ Centre in London.

‘Research, original design and decorative features made to the highest standards is fundamental to my work. My technical work requires focused concentration and skill. I am always extending my technical learning and manufacturing capabilities and I am very interested in reviving traditional techniques in combination with technology i.e. Puk welding. This combination of old and new creates a different visual identity and the main techniques I use at present are; wire applications, hand engraving, puk welding, engine turning and enamelling. I find and utilise inspiring research from nature and geometry with its infinite creations for patterns and textures. For example, observing the linear qualities of water provide plenty of material for the decorative detailing in my designs and I also incorporate aspects of Korean and European aesthetics. My designs start as freehand drawings that are then taken into 3D forms with models and maquettes that are subsequently transferred onto the computer. I work well using both hand and machine technical skills to realise my designs and concepts. With my recent work, I have taken my enamel pieces inspiration from the night sky, sunset and sunrise. I love the sky’s different colours – it’s always changing; days and night, seasons.’

Public Collections include:
Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, London; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; The British Museum, London; The Worshipful Company of Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers

Photography by Jaro Mikos
Born: 1976
Place of Birth: South Korea

Originally from South Korea, Choi Keeryong came to Britain to complete a Master of Design at Edinburgh College of Art and in 2010, continued to embark on a PhD in Glass and Architectural Glass. Keeryong has exhibited widely across the UK whilst investigating the similarities and differences between cultural groups in terms of their aesthetic perceptions of visual experiences, particularly in relation to unfamiliar materials and surface imagery.

Choi’s motivation for creating this body of work is to explore how the ambiguity of an individual’s cultural interpretation can help to create the state of “uncanni-ness” in the audience’s visual experiences. He believes that this ‘uncanni-ness’ provokes emotions and feelings and Choi manipulates this powerful tool within his artistic practice to promote the awareness of stereotypes in an individual’s cultural understanding. Developing inlaid colouring techniques inspired by the ancient Korean “Saggam” pottery allows him to explore the state of ambiguity in visual experience by delineating geometric patterns and counterfeit letters onto glass artworks and encapsulating them in between the layers of transparent glass. The use of historical symbolism of tea and the popularity of English manufactured ceramic teapots are the metaphor for the cultural stereotype in both West and East.

‘My artistic approach is inspired by my personal experiences of being in-between-ness in terms of my current cultural location.’

Choi’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally including SOFA Chicago, USA, International Glass Prize 2015, Belgium, and Collect, London, UK.  Choi received the Glass Biennale 2015 National Glass Centre (NGC) Residency Award and has been selected as a Loewe Craft Prize 2023 finalist.

Public Collections include: Museums and Galleries Edinburgh (City of Edinburgh Council); Oriental Museum, Durham University.

Born: 1979

Misun Won graduated with a masters degree in 2008 from Edinburgh College of Art. Originally from Korea, her work is associated with the delicacy of highly refined handcraft from the East. Her extensive experience of living and working in both Britain and Korea has given her a broader cultural outlook. It has enabled her to position herself in what she calls “neutral territory” and to examine both cultures with “fresh eyes”. Influences from both countries can be seen in her work: a major inspiration is Korean patchwork, but this highly traditional form is interpreted through Western fractal geometry; creating dynamic structures for her collection.

Misun received a commendation at Goldsmiths’ Fair 2019 for her latest collection.

Born: 1972
Place of Birth: Gyeongbuk, South Korea

Yun Ju Cheol is an innovative ceramicist who has created contemporary processes inspired by traditional methods to create extremely tactile surfaces. Originally studying Art History at Cheongju University in South Korea, he then completed a MFA in Ceramic Arts at Dankook University, and later a PhD. Yun Ju Cheol’s famous Cheomjang ceramics (claymolecule decoration), is an astounding technique whereby slip and pigment is applied with a brush onto a clay vessel more than a hundred times to achieve the sensational molecule-covered surface. One application of slip makes 0.3mm of thickness protruding outwards from the clay surface. After the first application of slip, it is left to dry for 20 minutes. Again this process is repeated from between 50 to 100 times. The Cheomjang is a result of Yun Ju Cheol’s research into the technique combining slip-brushing with a new surface decoration method; originally descending from the Korean traditional white-slip decoration technique Buncheong, dating back to the 14th century.

Public Collections include:

Henan Museum, China; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Museum of Modern Ceramic Art, Japan; Cheongju International Craft Biennale Collection, South Korea

Born: 1966
Place of Birth: Kyung-book Province, South Korea

Park Hong Gu is an established furniture designer and sculptor based in South Korea with over 30 years experience. He became well known for his ‘Abstract Burnt Painting’ furniture and objects with unique burnt surfaces. Trained initially as a furniture maker, Park constantly trives to also create non-functional work. Now at a new stage in his career achieved through meditation, Park o longer aims to create functional pieces and instead produces purely aesthetic forms. Park carves wooden logs into triangular forms. This is a challenge as a woodworker, due to the great wood waste it creates. Choosing this form has become a symbolic practice for Park, signifying his deep routed, fearful journey from practical woodworker to artist. This meditational performance has created self-reflective works. The series What is left is to Park, the purest work of art and a true representation of self.

Public Collections include:

Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Born: 1969
Place of Birth: Seoul, South Korea

Korean potter Hyejeong Kim worked in the UK for seven years and is now based in Seoul, South Korea. She creates stoneware ceramics that marry functionality with elegance and the classic with the contemporary. She throws her pots symmetrically on the wheel, and then deforms each piece by hand to create gently asymmetric forms that emphasize the human touch. ‘Making pots on a wheel has fascinated me since I started practicing ceramic art. There are many ways of making pots, but it is intersections of movement produced in the wheel-throwing method that creates the most organic structures,’ she explains. ‘Concentric forms are forced to liaise with other movements, causing accidents that uniquely mark a pot. Pots, to me, are the outcome of a ritualistic process that results in a spiritual essence which has taken form.’

Hyejeong uses a variety of clays and glazes to create her work, which is fired in either a reduction or oxidisation atmosphere. She notes, ‘The impressions made on each pot are the combined outcomes of clay body, glaze surface transmuted by fire, and my personal expression’.

Hyejeong is a member of the Crafts Potters Association in the UK and currently teaches at the Ceramics Department of Ewha Womans University in Korea.

Public Collections include:

Museum of Tokyo University of the Arts, Japan; Philadelphia Museum of Art, USA

Born: 1978
Place of Birth: Bucheon, South Korea

Dong-Hyun Kim received a BFA in metalwork & Jewellery from Kookmin University in Seoul, South Korea, before completing his MFA in 2007. In 2002, he was an exchange student specialising in Metalwork & Jewellery at Sheffield Hallam University. Dong-Hyun Kim is currently studying for his PhD at Kookmin University, whilst also teaching at Wonkwang University. Dong-Hyun Kim specialises in the skilled hammering and fabrication techniques used to create vessels and metal objects. He had major solo exhibitions in 2012 and 2014 and his work has been shown in numerous exhibitions internationally.

His work was awarded a Lions Club Hanau Prize, the second place in Youth promotion, in 2010. In addition to this he also won the Bavarian State Prize 2013 in Germany, and the Metalwork & Jewellery Award 2015 from Yoolizzy Craft Museum in Korea.

Public Collections include:

China Academy of Art, Hanzhou, China; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany

Born: 1967
Place of Birth: Seoul, South Korea

Heeseung Koh is based in Seoul, South Korea, where she completed her MFA at Kookmin University in 1994.

‘For a long time, I have captured all manner of objects on city streets with my camera. They could be ordinary things such as electric poles or manhole covers embedded firmly in the surface of roads, rubbish heaps piled up seemingly untidily but having their own sense of order, walls covered with numerous tape marks, peeling paint revealing a rusty underbelly, bricks stacked tightly, and signs warning you to keep away. The objects on the streets are very strong and firm, however they have traces of damage due to rain and wind, and undefined causes have broken them down. Although the marks sometimes look like badly-healed scars, they become attractive as the fabric of a city.

My works begin with the scenario of ‘plugging a hole’. I make a hole of a determined size in a wooden board and then apply one of many objects that I have already made and, consequently, a relationship between the hole and the object is discovered. Finally, I select rivets, strings, or other matter to combine the two. In my work, small screws or pieces of plastic are treated as if they are precious jewels. The objects incorporated in my jewellery vary in appearance and hold different value and meaning when they are placed in different situations’.

Public Collections include:

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, Korea

Born: 1973
Place of Birth: Incheon, Seoul, South Korea

William Lee lives and works in Seoul, South Korea. He completed his BA (hons) in Silversmithing & Metalwork at Camberwell College of Arts, University of London in 2004, before becoming Artist in Residence in the Jewellery & Metalwork department at Sheffield Hallam University in 2006.

‘I use a basic technique that is central to my artistic practice. Through the process of raising from one disc of silver, only by hand hammering, I construct innovative forms and surfaces inspired by oriental traditional philosophy. By recreating the form and shape of traditional Korean ceramics, I seek to interpret a cultural code in restrained vessel forms. Flowing lines and subtle marks appear to be melt on the surface.

As an artist, l place the greatest importance on continuously creating works. This can be interpreted in a number of ways, but what I mean here is that it is important that the present work and its end-product become a reason and driving force for the future’.

Public Collections include:

Pembroke College, University of Cambridge Grocers’ Company, London, UK; Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums, UK; Philadelphia Museum of Art, USA; Goldsmiths’ Company, London, UK; Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK

Born: 1982
Place of Birth: Seoul, South Korea

Jongjin Park received his MA in Ceramics at Cardiff Metropolitan University, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Ceramics at Kookmin University, Seoul.

Jongjin Park’s pieces are made using a technique Park stumbled upon while researching his Master’s thesis at Cardiff University. By painting clay slip onto pieces of paper towel, layering them, applying pigment and then firing them at 1280 degrees, Park creates a masslike trompe l’oeil. The resulting objects not only mimic the appearance of wood, they’re also strong enough to withstand typical woodworking tools, like an electric sander or a Dremel, which allows Park to create the container-like pieces. In some of the work, Park binds as many as 1,000 sheets together that can take up to three days to create. The integration of paper in his work allows the ceramic to imitate another material.

Public Collections include:

Four Seasons Hotel, Gwanghwamun, Seoul, Korea; Icheon World Ceramic EXPO Center, Korea; Gyeonggi Ceramic museum, Gwangju, Korea

Place of Birth: Seoul, South Korea

Park Seohee completed her BA (hons) and MFA in ceramics at the College of Fine Arts, Seoul National University, South Korea, graduating in 2016.

‘I experiment with traditional forms of Josun Dynasty Porcelain and celadon glazes within my work, achieving a bold and contemporary tonal elegance with wheel-throwing. I make a organic forms (inspired by Joseon Porcelain) on the potter’s wheel, trimming the curves from the body to create the straight segments of the polygon’.

Public Collections include:

Chinese Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing

Born: 1981
Place of Birth: Ganghwa, South Korea

Bae Sejin completed his BA (hons) and MFA at Seoul National University, graduating in 2012.

The lapse of time involves duration, repetition, transformation and circulation. It is continuous, repetitive and circular. In the boundaries of art, a study of the lapse of time is ultimately a study of the human. Samuel Beckett revealed the lapse of time in nature in his play Waiting for Godot. Beckett’s play has become the inspiration for my work.

Working with the clay as a natural material unifies nature and humans. The clay contains the time of duration, repetition, transformation and circulation. I try to visualise and record the lapse of time in nature by working with it. Adding the serial numbers and attaching tens of thousands of small blocks leads me to the stage of impassivity. The continuing repetition of labour helps me to overcome the alienation of human beings and to discover myself. Recording the lapse of time succeeds only when performed repeatedly for a long time. On the basis of what I have studied, I will try to get closer to the repetitive and circular time of nature by continuing the repetition of labour. I think that craft, in general, can be compared to Waiting for Godot. To make a good piece of work, repeated behavior is needed. To deal with clay, the artist has to wait a long time. I am using pieces of clay and numbering to record the repeated behavior and the time of waiting’.

Selected Awards:

2017 LOEWE Craft Prize, finalist; 2015 Taiwan Ceramics Biennale International Competition, bronze prize; 2015 Cheongju International Craft Competition, silver prize; 2012 Korea Ceramic Arts Award of Korea, gold prize; 2011 National Competition of Mokpo ceramic, excellence award; 2010 Iksan Korea Arts and Craft Award, grand prize; 2009 Ulsan International Onggi Competition, gold prize

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