Jaehyo Lee – 0121-1110=193061, 1993, stones
Jaehyo Lee (b. 1965, Hapchen, South Korea) graduated in 1992 with a BFA from the Hong-Ik University in Seoul. Combining distinct traces of Land Art, Arte Povera and Minimalism Lee´s works cast a questioning eye over the roots of form, its function and its role within the natural world.
Lee´s works willfully play with the oft-contested boundaries between modern art and design, referencing the idealist´s cubes, cylinders and cones as perversions of the chaise longue, the coffee table, the lampshade, and even the humble doughnut. Revealing a subtly humorous and unsentimental attitude to nature, what unites these works is a belief that the beauty of art is a product of the labor from whence it comes, whether this be the meticulous carving of larch trunks into the form of a perfect sphere or, equally, the precise bending and sanding of thousands of nails hammered one after another into a hunk of cut lumber.
“Until recently, my work has been about combining wood with nails or steel bars and integrating them into geometrical shapes such as spheres, hemispheres, or cylinders. Whenever I did this, one of my problems was to keep the nails and bolts out of sight. Now, on the contrary, I put an emphasis on the nails themselves. I drive countless nails into wood, bend them, grind them, and make them protrude. I then burn the wood, blackening its growth ring records and its natural color. The glittering metallic nails on the black charcoal become ever more conspicuous, and through this process, I draw a picture on wood using nails. Those who make a hard living may be the ones who make this world a beautiful place. I certainly do not have the power to make it beautiful. I just hope to reveal the beauty in what is usually seen but not noticed. It may be a rusty bent nail. If you take a close look at it, however, you’ll find out how beautiful it can be.”
Jaehyo Lee – Lotus, 2013, Wood (Korean Big Cone Pine), 216 in; 548.6 cm
Jaehyo Lee – 0121-1110=102101, 2002, Wood, 350x350x350cm
Jaehyo Lee – 0121-1110=114047, 2014, Wood, 700x700x700cm
Jaehyo Lee – 0121-1110=191111, 1991, Stone, 300x300x350cm
Jaehyo Lee – 0121-1110=197073, 1997, Stone, 220x220x350cm
Jaehyo Lee – 0121-1110=194051, 1994, Grass, 150x150x150cm
Jaehyo Lee – 0121-1110=115075, 2015, Wood, 560x130x360cm
Yeesookyung is a South Korean artist living in Seoul. She is known for her complex and enchanting ceramic designs and sculptures. The Translated series series, like many of her works, is made up of shards and fragments of broken ceramic pieces that are carefully pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle. Yeesookyung created her Translated Vase back in 2002 after she observed discarded trash from the ceramic master Lim Hang Taek glimmering in the sunlight. The reflection of light from the shards and the organic forms of the cracks inspired her craft.
To create the Translated Vase, Yeesookyung uses epoxy resin to glue together the different fragments of the broken pots. To make the fissures and the cracks more prominent, Yeesookyung uses 24-carat gold leaf for glazing. The gold acts as the perfect addition to complement the beautifully misshapen fractures of the re-constructed vase.
The biomorphic form of the vessel helps to capture the eye immediately as the repurposed pottery created manages to surpass the original beauty of the vase. The Translated Vase combines the delicate fragility of ceramic pottery with the fortified strength of the glue and the gold, the end result of which is something truly magnificent. Yeesookyung covers the cracks in gold because the Korean word for crack and gold is similar. The use of products that share the same name also helps to add an element of humor to the work.
Yeesookyung’s technique in pottery, as stunning as it may be is not new. For years, artists in Korea have been reconstructing and rebuilding discarded ceramic pieces that would typically be considered trash in other parts of the world. The waste is sometimes restored to create new Korean ceramics while others like Yeesookyung’s are used as art. This art form, known as Kinstukuroi also uses metals such as platinum and silver for the repairing process.
The Translated Vase represents the struggle that all individuals face in life. The cracks on the vase represent the wounds that are formed from the struggle while the gold represents the beauty and maturity that people experience when they overcome suffering. Aside from denoting the suffering, Yeesookyung’s attention to detail helped to break the ceramic tradition that insists on perfection.
Rather than discard a perfect piece, like a master potter would, Yeesookyung chose to create new forms from the useless pieces to emphasize that imperfection can also give way to stunning beauty. It is safe to say that the Translated Vase succeeded in channeling the imperfections and irregularities that exist in nature.
Gimhongsok – Canine Construction, 2009, 164x231x90cm
This Canine Construction by South Korean artist, Gimhongsok is one that anyone would fall in love with, coupled with the enigmatic quality it has. This work is the sculpture of a dog remains one of the artist’s most well-known works in recent times. The creation involved using garbage bags, balloons, cardboard boxes, all assembled with expensive materials like resin.
Meekyoung Shin – Crouching 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.
Thomas Struth – Semi Submersible Rig, DSME Shipyard, Geoje Island, 2007
Thomas Struth’s work in the Koreas
In March 2007, Thomas Struth went on a first trip to South Korea. He spent time in the two largest cities, Seoul and Busan, as well as visiting religious and cultural sites, important landscapes and shipyards. At the vast DSME shipyard on Geoje Island, one of the largest in the world, he photographed tankers under construction and an immense semi-submersible drilling rig. Struth made two further visits to South Korea in 2008 and 2010, as well as visiting Pyongyang in North Korea for the first time.
wherethereisnostruggle I, 2012, mixed media on canvas, 340x250cm
In two days, from September 13 through September 17, 2012, Platoon Kunsthalle in Seoul will host Urban Void, an exhibition featuring Korean and international street artists who created works exclusively for this show.
The exhibition has live painting, installations, workshops and lectures on four floors.
> More details here
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Gana Mplanet is one of the most exciting places for public art in South Korea and arguably all of Asia. Being located directly at Seoul Station this huge 99 x 79m media canvas displays various art installations throughout the year.
Yang Man-ki (양만기)