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 styles 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, cracks and other defects that were on the classical sculptures. Shin’s vases are also replicas. 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 Chinese culture. When you look at them, you will notice the careful carving and be attracted by the scent of the soap used to create the works.
Video: Meekyoung Shin speaks about her Soap Vase Carving
Soap Vase Carving | Meekyoung Shin
1 min 31 sec
What was her Toilet Project?
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 displayed some of her sculptures in public toilets. This is an art program that is aimed at having galleries display their art in toilets.
Challenges of the Toilet Project
Meekyoung Shin has faced some challenges in the line of duty. For instance, the Buddha statue in public toilets has been removed by the Korean Cultural Centre UK after several visitors complained. For most people, having a religious 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 illustrate the transition in life.
Video: Translation exhibition
Meekyoung Shin 'Translation'
4 min 42 sec
All images by Meekyoung Shin unless otherwise noted.