Beautiful sculptures made entirely from soap

Meekyoung Shin - Crouching Aphrodite, 2002
Meekyoung ShinCrouching Aphrodite, 2002

Meekyoung Shin, a South Korean sculptor, became popular for her Translation series, using soap as her medium of art. Trained in the tradition of European sculpture, her statuettes are made factoring in the Western and Eastern style of relief. Her works are usually made from palm oil, a vegetarian soap.

The free-standing ancient Greek sculptures of nude male youths made by Shin are perfect replicas of the originals. She actually preserved the missing limbs, crack and the other defects that were on the classical sculptures. Shin’s vases are also replica. The originals from China were created and sold in the European market between the 16th and 20th centuries. The vases feature dragons, warriors and other essential elements that depict the Chinese culture. When you look at them, you will notice the careful carving and also will be attracted by the scent of the soap, used to make the works.

While most people choose to go to the public toilets as a last resort, for Meekyoung Shin, this is the best place to place her art and latest pieces. Using the Toilet Project, she has been able to display some of her sculptures in public toilets. This is an art program that is aimed at having galleries display their art in toilets.

Meekyoung Shin has faced some challenges in the line of duty. For instance, the statue of Buddha that was in public toilets has been removed by the Korean Cultural Centre UK after a number of visitors complained. For most people, having a religion icon in the toilet does not seem right, and this has been a big hindrance to the growth of the Toilet Project. Shin’s work is a great wonder for most people who wash their hands using these soap statutes and illustrates the transition that happens in life.

Meekyoung Shin - Untitled (Red Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 22x22x43cm and Untitled (Blue Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 21x21x33cm
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Red Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 22x22x43cm, Untitled (Blue Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 21x21x33cm

Meekyoung Shin - Translation, Vase Series, 2013, soap, pigment, varnish and wooden crate
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Red Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 22x22x43cm

Meekyoung Shin - Translation, Vase Series, 2009, soap, pigment, varnish and wooden crate
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Blue Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 21x21x33cm

Meekyoung Shin - Translation, Vase Series. Korean Cultural Centre, 2013-14, Photo- STF
Meekyoung ShinTranslation, Vase Series, Korean Cultural Centre, London, UK
Photo: STF

Meekyoung Shin - Translation, Vase Series, 2006-ongoing, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored stainless steel plates, wooden crates, Dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinTranslation, Vase series, 2006-ongoing, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored stainless steel plates, wooden crates, Dimensions variable

Meekyoung Shin - Translation, Vase series, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored steel, fragrance, wooden crate, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art
Meekyoung ShinTranslation, Vase series, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored steel, fragrance, wooden crate, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea

Meekyoung Shin - Translated Vases series, 2009, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinTranslation, Vase series, 2009, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable

Meekyoung Shin - Translation, Vase Series, 2006-ongoing, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored stainless steel plates, wooden crates, Dimensions variable, Humboldt Lab Dahlem, Berlin, Germany, Foto Uwe Walter
Meekyoung ShinTranslation, Vase Series, 2006-ongoing, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored stainless steel plates, wooden crates, Dimensions variable, Humboldt Lab Dahlem, Berlin, Germany
Photo: Uwe Walter

Meekyoung Shin - Translation, Vase Series, 2006-ongoing, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored stainless steel plates, wooden crates, Dimensions variable, Humboldt Lab Dahlem, Berlin, Germany, Foto Uwe Walter
Meekyoung ShinTranslation, Vase Series, 2006-ongoing, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored stainless steel plates, wooden crates, Dimensions variable, Humboldt Lab Dahlem, Berlin, Germany
Photo: Uwe Walter

Meekyoung Shin - Installation View @Hakgojae Shanghai, 2015 3
Meekyoung Shin – Installation View, Hakgojae Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2015

Meekyoung Shin - Installation View @Hakgojae Shanghai, 2015
Meekyoung Shin – Installation View, Hakgojae Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2015

Meekyoung Shin - Installation View @Hakgojae Shanghai, 2015
Meekyoung Shin – Installation View, Hakgojae Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2015

Meekyoung Shin - Installation View @Hakgojae Shanghai, 2015 5
Meekyoung Shin – Installation View, Hakgojae Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2015

Meekyoung Shin - Installation View @Hakgojae Shanghai, 2015, Translation, Ghost Series(Red), 2007-ongoing, Soap, varnish, fragrance, Dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinTranslation, Ghost Series(Red), Soap, varnish, fragrance, Dimensions variable, Installation View, Hakgojae Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2015

Meekyoung Shin - Toilet Project 2, 2014, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinToilet Project, 2014, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable

Meekyoung Shin - Toilet Project 1, 2014, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinToilet Project, 2014, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable

Meekyoung Shin - Weathering Project, 2013, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinWeathering Project, 2013, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable

Meekyoung Shin - Gilt Buddha, 2011, Soap, gold leaf, varnish, 90x28x28cm
Meekyoung ShinGilt Buddha, 2011, Soap, gold leaf, varnish, 90x28x28cm

Meekyoung Shin - Toilet project bust, 2013, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable, photo jim varney
Meekyoung ShinToilet project bust, 2013, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable
Photo: Jim Varney

Meekyoung Shin - Toilet project, 2013, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable, photo jim varney
Meekyoung ShinToilet project, 2013, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable
Photo: Jim Varney

Meekyoung Shin - Toilet Project, Taipei, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinToilet project, 2013, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable, Taipei, Taiwan

Meekyoung Shin - Toilet project, dimensions variable, Unfixed A Solo Exhibition, Korean Cultural Centre UK, London, UK, 2013
Meekyoung ShinToilet project, dimensions variable, Unfixed: A Solo Exhibition, Korean Cultural Centre UK, London, UK, 2013

Toilet Project, 2004-ongoing, Soap, fragrance, Dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinToilet project, dimensions variable

Meekyoung Shin - Buddha, 2011
Meekyoung ShinBuddha, 2011

Meekyoung Shin - Pensive Maitreya Boddhisatva, dimensions variable, Unfixed- A Solo Exhibition, Korean Cultural Centre UK, London, UK, 2013
Meekyoung ShinPensive Maitreya Boddhisatva, dimensions variable, Unfixed: A Solo Exhibition, Korean Cultural Centre UK, London, UK, 2013

​Meekyoung Shin - Untitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 24x14x10cm
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 24x14x10cm

​Meekyoung Shin - Untitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 47x19x20cm
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 47x19x20cm

​Meekyoung Shin - Untitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 83x18x40cm
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 83x18x40cm

​Meekyoung Shin - Untitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, dimensions variable

​Meekyoung Shin - Untitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, dimensions variable

Meekyoung Shin - Ghost Series; Pink, Soap, varnish, pigment, 2012. 32 x 42 x 44 cm
Meekyoung Shin Ghost Series; Pink, 2012, Soap, varnish, pigment, 32x42x44cm

 

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