Curated by Lucía Savloff.
The exhibition was born from the sensations that were aroused to a group of artists from La Plata after the perception of what happened during the terrible flood that hit their city last April 2nd of 2013. The artworks of Marcela Cabutti, Mariela Cantú, Gabriel Fino, Graciela Olio and Paula Massarutti display a diverse set of poetics that allows us to think about how the construction of images and artistic devices participates in the process of building a collective memory.
Certain circumstances constitute an event to the extent that causes a deviation in the course of our everyday experience. Natural or social tectonic movements displace the foundations on which we build us. The unpredictable breaks, hits, and then opens, letting us see what was below that which has been moved. The flood brought our attention to what we usually don´t look, putting our fragility in public, and revealing that the way we live, build and socially act modifies the territory we inhabit. The artworks in this exhibition do not try to “represent” what happened. The artists conceive the practice of memory from the field of poetry, creating works and devices that function as meeting spaces that enables dialogues unknown a priori. As blocks of sensations or resonance boxes, the artworks create meeting infrastructures and invite to build from its empty spaces. If the disruptive experience operates as a large gap in our symbolic order, the poetic has the ability to register, give presence, or make visible that which escapes in our attempt to narrate what happened.
Graciela Olio builds small houses with porcelain planes, which cuts and splices together. The house, symbol of the cosmos, is the materialization of our attempt to protect ourselves. But her houses are precarious, sometimes without ceiling or a wall, shelters that rather than creating an interior space, makes themselves visibles. The house crossed by the river has to be one of the most terrifying images. Then comes the adjusting, things acquire a new order, some get lost, others deteriorate. How to move on? The question translates into an impulse to work with what we have, what is left, the remains.
Worlds are constructed from pre-existing worlds, and in that way to make is to remake says Nelson Goodman. Olio takes some pieces of his series Home and Mil Ladrillos that in After the Storm, are crossed by a transformation processes. She intervenes in her ceramic pieces, testing operations that multiply the work of the unpredictable in its forms. Her works become a testing ground, where she experiments encounters with the possible. Putting back in the process something that was finished entails working with error, with failures. Putting back in the kiln some ceramic pieces, reinforced the deconstructive the process of the forms, to the point where some could no longer stay up. Olio built for them small platforms, supports that served as bases, and became palafittes, structures that rise the houses above the water level in coastal areas or rivers. The support structure becomes a metaphor for the idea of care, of guard of the other. What political infrastructure of affection, encounter and care must we build to create strategies that allow us to survive in this complex and unpredictable territory? How to rethink lifestyles, work, organization and collaboration to create sustainable ways of life? How to coordinate actions of citizen participation in the management of the common, the territory?
Paula Massarutti delves into the testing of social bonds that implied the emergence of collective strategies to respond the abandonment during the flood. The forms of solidarity and energetic presence of the other, in rescue, shelter and hospitality actions. Starting from a dialogue with the neighbors that live in the adjoining blocks to her house, she creates a fictional space that asks: What are we willing to compromise with the other? Her project imagines the possibility of elaborating an act of agreement or contract between neighbors, which materializes the commitment to mutual aid in case a new catastrophe occurs. Tensioning the boundaries between fiction and the real, the project transits the space between the spontaneous and anonymous solidarity and the will to build a sustained commitment.
Mariela Cantú overlaps images of the day after the flood, with fragments of a poetic discourse that relates the steps to oblivion after a breakup and audios of old argentine news that talk about the floods in the territory of the province of Buenos Aires. History repeats itself? Cantú intersects the plans for the personal and intimate memory, with those of the great social tragedies. Is it just a matter of scale? Intimate garbage, exiled objects, piles of stuff that become portraits of an unknown other. What images are built in the disordered accumulation of belongings from a certain person when they are devoid of any value? Cantú explores the process that involves any kind of mourning, wondering about intricate work of memory construction, with a critical eye towards the dimension of oblivion.
Gabriel Fino creates images of the storm, of the chaos-seed, of a transformed landscape in which the structures and boundaries dissolve. His work proceeds by accumulation of layers, and densities of meaning. Produced with infinite patience, it requires from the viewer a similar attitude, an attentive gaze, looking below, in the detail, in the fragment, into the interstices, beyond the delicate gesture that gives strength to the whole. Watching between the lines, and get a glimpse what is born of that mix of the whole, of the beautiful and the ugly, of darkness and light; the life emerges in the mixture of the dirt, the rotten and the forgotten. Allow the water to stagnate, to see the birth of the water lily. To see what germinates from chaos.
The installation Mirá cuántos barcos aún navegan! (Look how many ships still sail!) by Marcela Cabutti configures a territory that puts our attention in the moment after. An instant that seems to be frozen but which we perceive as vibrant. The work in its apparent stillness does not cease to deploy images. There is something treasured in the traces of its constructive, manual and methodical process. If art preserves, according to Deleuze, a bloc of sensations, in front of this piece we can´t but shudder at the way in which a work may operate as a memory machine. What connections and memories activates, that make us stand before the constructed landscape? Accidentally we assume the attitude of the character, and we find ourselves contemplating as well. Along the way, we become landscape, we become animal, we become others and suddenly we find ourselves playing. The memory that is activated is one certain way of being in the world, one that resonates in the strings that connect us with the looks of childhood, surprise and wonder at the beauty of the world.
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Hannah Wilke: Sculpture 1960s-’80s at Alison Jacques Gallery, London
Elements in Harmony: Contemporary Japanese ceramics at Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
Michael Geertsen: Still Life, Still Lives / Jason Jacques Gallery, New York
Simon Carroll / Corvi-Mora Gallery, London
Alexandra Lerman: Immediate Release / Tina Kim Gallery, New York
Transformation 9: Contemporary Works in Ceramics / Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh
Dual Natures in Ceramics: Eight Contemporary Artists from Korea / SFO Museum, San Francisco
Jun Kaneko: A Stage for a Shared Dream / Locks Gallery, Philadelphia
Nathan Lynch: Another High / Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco
Emma Woffenden: Falling Hard / Marsden Woo Gallery, London
SCORES: Fujita, Cole & Lopez / Cross MacKenzie Gallery, Washington DC
Ewen Henderson / Erskine, Hall & Coe, London
Edmund de Waal: Atmosphere / Turner Contemporary, Margate, Kent
State of Flux / An Talla Solais, Ullapool, Scotland
Anna Maria Maiolino. Between Senses / Hauser & Wirth, New York
Annabeth Rosen / Ventana244, Brooklyn
Marit Tingleff and Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl: X–Scapes / Copenhagen Ceramics
Hannah Wilke: Sculpture 1960s-’80s / Alison Jacques Gallery, London
InCiteful Clay / Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, USA
Sara Radstone / Marsden Woo Gallery, London
Beverly Mayeri / Duane Reed Gallery, Saint Louis
Calls for applications and news
Contemporary Ceramics Festival TseGlyna 2014, Kiev, Ukraine
2nd International Ceramic Art Symposium LANDescape, Daugavpils, Latvia
The contemporary art ceramics festival TseGlyna 2014 takes place in Kyiv, Ukraine, between May 30 and June 3, 2014. This art project aimed at boosting the professional ceramics development in Ukraine.
The main objectives of the project are to demonstrate the achievements of Ukrainian ceramists and to develop the cooperation between ceramists, designers, architects, gallery owners, collectors and theorists.
More than 50 participants represent various regions of Ukraine: Kyiv, Lviv, Uzhgorod, Kharkiv, Poltava, Luck, Zaporizhia, Slovyansk (Donetsk region), Konotop (Sumy region). Among the participants there are young artists as well as leading ceramists such as: Taras Levkiv, Uliana Yaroshevych, Gia Miminoshvili, Nelli Isupova, Svitlana Pasichna, Andriy Illinsky, Sergiy Radko, Stepan Andrusiv, Vasyl Bodnarchuk, Volodymyr Kovalev, Sergiy Kozak, Volodymyr Khyzhynsky, Yuriy Musatov and others.
The partner of the festival is the Ya Gallery Art Center, who will present the project «Drova» by Olena Blank.
May 30, 18:00 - Festival Grand Opening
May 31, 16:00 - Round-table Discussion, which aims to look over the questions:
- Current status of the contemporary Ukrainian ceramics;
- Popularization of the professional Ukrainian ceramics among gallerists, collectors, architects, designers, art event organizers;
- Cooperation with architects and designers; interaction with interior spaces;
- Theory and practices of the contemporary Ukrainian ceramics in the global world’s context;
June 1, 16.00 – Professionally-creative experience and knowledge exchange evening; Personal projects presentation (Gia Miminoshvili: project Interactive Construction, Nelli Isupova: International Ceramics Biennale participation memories);
June 2 – Film presentation: artistic ceramics and international ceramic symposiums;
June 3, 18.00 – Festival Grand Closing (performance by Dinamic Culture TseGlyna).
The festival location: Exhibition Hall at NSK «Olympic», str. Velyka Vasylkivska 55, Kyiv, Ukraine. Admission is free.
Jason Jacques Gallery is pleased to announce its second contemporary exhibition with contemporary ceramic master Michael Geertsen. Following a ceramic installation at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and a show at Puls Ceramics in his native Denmark, Michael Geertsen has come back to show in New York. Geertsen is known for sleek ceramic works with alien-like sculptural bodies, and stacked sculptures of utilitarian objects like plates and cups. His whimsical and animated forms are executed with machine-like precision, thanks to his background in industrial ceramics. Michael claims American streamline design and Italian Futurism as his primary influences.
His most recent works have reinterpreted ancient Greek pottery, taking the classical forms and integrating them with modernist elements. He adds antlers, knobs and nipples in metallic gold and platinum. The gold and platinum protrusions create mirror like reflections which, when placed next to other works, distort the forms further, shifting perceptions of their form or shape.
Geertsen says his use of gold and silver is a nod to Western decadence. He started using these elements in his work while exploring Soviet constructivism where Gold and silver screamed hedonism, abundance and American kitsch. The use of gold and silver is also a reaction against 1960’s naturalistic pottery, making the works cheeky and stylized. The artist and scholar Edmond de Waals described his work as always “questioning the place that ceramics has inhabited, as well as the place that ceramics will inhabit in the future.” Michael’s most recent innovations have made that statement even more fitting.
Geerstsen’s work can be found in the preeminent collections of museums worldwide, from as close as the Metropolitan Museum in New York City to as far as the Incheon Museum in South Korea. His incredible installations can be seen all over the world, from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to a three dimensional mural in downtown Hanoi Vietnam.
This exhibition explores the full spectrum of Geertsen’s work from his use of utilitarian objects in stacked futurist sculptures, to free standing sculptural life forms that seem to come from another planet, to his new classical inspired vessels with gilded protrusions. The show is sure to be a spectacular cementing his place among the contemporary greats.
Tommaso Corvi-Mora is pleased to present a solo exhibition of work Simon Carroll. Born in 1964, Simon Carroll died in 2009 at the age of 45. He was one of the most talented and inventive potters of his generation.
After the clean slate brought about by the generation of postmodern potters of the 70s and 80s (Alison Britton, Elizabeth Fritsch, Walter Keeler, Jacqui Poncelet), whose work developed also in reaction to Bernard Leach’s lasting influence, potters working in Britain divided themselves into two separate camps: those who could be called the “apollonians” (Julian Stair, Edmund de Waal, Ken Eastman), who privilege clean lines, muted colours, an interest in modes of display and an approach to ceramics influenced primarily by minimal and conceptual art, and those who could be identified as the “dionysians” (Gareth Mason, Ashley Howard), more focused on the object presented individually and on an approach closer to “art informel” and abstract expressionism. Simon Carroll’s work places itself firmly in the latter group; however the exuberance and eruptive force of his forms is always tempered by a thoughtful and affectionate reverence for the tradition and history of pottery, especially for 17th- and 18th Century slip-decorated Staffordshire wares.
The exhibition at the gallery will focus on two bodies of work: a series of jugs from 2005-2007 and a group of tall pots, first exhibited in 2006 at Tate St. Ives. Emmanuel Cooper wrote about the exhibition in The Guardian in 2009: “A major breakthrough came in 2006 with a show at Tate St Ives, when Carroll filled the long showcase with tall, thrown and manipulated pieces that included modelled parts, incised decoration, colour and slips and incorporated diverse references such as 18th-century porcelain, Staffordshire slipware and the decoration on Oribe ware, as well as Elizabethan ruffles. All were inventively amalgamated into his squareish forms, some with rounded feet, which brought an understanding of the history of ceramics into the 21st century, the cracks and imperfections being a vital part of the story.”
Simon Carroll’s work is the object of a monographic presentation at the Victoria and Albert Museum in the frame of the “Display” series, in the Ceramics Galleries, room 146 until 4th January 2015.
New Delhi, a city of ten million or so people, takes its history seriously. Pretty much any museum experience you can imagine is available. Whether you want an overview of what’s been happening during the past 5,000 years, an insight into the life of Mahatma Gandhi or a journey through the crafts representing India’s incredible regional diversity, you can get it.
That said, if you’re only in the city for a short stay, you don’t have time for everything. So here are three museums that you really shouldn’t miss. For a place to stay that’s convenient, check out the some of the great hotels in Delhi Dwarka.
To really understand a country, there’s no substitute like visiting the National Museum. Found on the corner of Janpath Street and Maulana Azad Road, and run by the Indian Government’s Ministry of Culture, India’s is home to a stunning collection that will take you on a truly amazing trip through five millennia.
The numerous objects and more than 200,000 art works are divided into twenty-one galleries. One of the highlights is definitely the Harappan Gallery, where you’ll see evidence that technology was exceptionally advanced and lifestyles rather sophisticated even back in 3000BC. Another is the absolutely delightful Miniature Gallery, filled with over 17,000 miniature paintings. Styles include Mughal, Deccani, Central India, and Pahair, and you’ll see art works on all kinds of materials, from palm leaf to wood to leather.
In order to really understand what you’re seeing, nabbing an audio guide is highly recommended. The museum is unlikely to give you one unless you can provide ID, however, so don’t forget to take your Driver’s Licence or similar with you. The National Museum is open between 10am and 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday, but closed on Monday. Admission is 150 INR (general), 10 INR (Indian citizens) and 1 INR (students). To make an inquiry, call +91 1123019272.
National Gallery of Modern Art
The National Gallery of Modern Art, located at Jaipur House, India Gate, is committed to preserving and promoting post-1850s art. More than 17,000 paintings, sculptures, photographs and graphics range from miniature works to cutting-edge contemporary installations. Some of the major artists represented include British painter Thomas Daniell (and his nephew William), Jamini Roy, Amrita Sher-Gil, Raja Ravi Verma and Abanindranath Tagore.
Since opening in 1954, the gallery has received significant renovations and upgrades. Most recently, in 2009, it saw the addition of a brand new wing, increasing the overall space six-fold and incorporating a theatre, an auditorium, a library, a section dedicated to academia, a laboratory committed to conservation, an eatery and a retail outlet. You can visit the National Gallery of Modern Art between 10am and 5pm on any day except Monday.
National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum
If you’ve already fallen in love with silk sarees and shadow puppets, this is the place to find out all about them. India’s handicrafts have become popular in various incarnations all over the world, having developed in their own country over the course of thousands of years.
Given India’s immense population (more than 1.2 billion) and expansive area (over 3.2 million square kilometres), the artistic regional diversity is incredible. At the National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum, you can find out all about the evolution of various sets of aesthetics – and how they inform an array of crafts, including carving, pottery, weaving, puppetry and painting. You’ll find the museum in Pragati Maidan on Bhairon Road. Between July and September, visit between 9:30 and 5pm, while between October and June, opening hours are 9:30am-6pm. It’s closed Mondays all year around and on public holidays.
* This is a guest post.
Tina Kim Gallery is pleased to present Alexandra Lerman’s first solo exhibition, Immediate Release.
A coincidence of the calendar becomes a critical frame. The first of May commemorates May Day, an ancient folk festival meant to awaken the wintering body through conviviality, dance, and song, also, International Workers’ Day, the 20th century’s concession to the solidarity of laboring bodies in almost every country of the world. The 1st of May saw the opening of Immediate Release, the new exhibition of multi-media artist Alexandra Lerman.
Alexandra Lerman’s Immediate Release presents a multi-layered installation of drawings, terracotta tablets, ceramics, and performance by Madeline Hollander that literally and metaphorically diagrams the capture of the body by the intersecting forces of technology, capital, and representation. The inauguration of a new kind of May Day, then, that understands that the body’s movements are no longer simply instrumentalized through the mechanics of labor, but also by the codification of its informal moments of respite: social communication, relaxation, aesthetic expression.
Two walls of the gallery are hung with terracotta maps depicting the gallery staff’s circulation through the space, traced by a finger dragged across the wet tablet’s surface and finished with a pinch, a now ubiquitous gesture for minimization, for which Apple briefly owned a patent. On an adjacent wall, Sumi ink drawings on legal forms render the 26 poses of Bikram Yoga, which tried to license to traditional, commonly-held wisdom of the body movements it taught. These components supplied a kind of elementary formal dictionary for Hollander’s choreographed performance that unfolded in front of them: at the opening, and then again on May 10th, the gallery’s central column become a kind of maypole for four dancers who looped through a series of movement sequences abstracted from Apple Inc.’s touch screen gestures, BikramChoudhury Yoga Inc. poses, and moves from Balanchine™ Ballet. In the intervening time, the stage around the column has been strewn with freestanding ceramic totems impressed with the positions the body takes during the performance.
At one level, the performance exists as the corollary release to the implicit capture of the body through the licensed systems of movement it borrows from: emancipation through appropriation. The movements are loosed from their various proprietary rationalizations and applications, existing momentarily for and by themselves. And yet the intentionally awkward and repetitive choreography also asks where exactly is this body being released into? Not just a commercial gallery, but, more generally, another regime of representation that may prove to be no less administered.
We are reminded that the original spirit of the folk May Day, like every bacchanal, was not just immediate release but temporary release, too, sanctioned only by its agreement to be defined as an exception. In this way, Lerman’s art is also like the festival: not an outside, but an interval- the moment of the body in mid-air, when the feet have left the ground and not yet returned.
Immediate Release is curated by Ceren Erdem.
Alexandra Lerman (born 1980, St. Petersburg, Russia) lives and works in New York. Lerman completed her MFA at Columbia University in 2012 and received her BFA from Cooper Union in 2004. Lerman’s individual and collaborative projects have been shown at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, Anthology Film Archived, Austrian Cultural Forum, Artists Space, Janos Gat Gallery, the New Museum in New York, MUSAC in Spain, and the Hermitage in Russia. For 2012-2013, Lerman was a resident at LMCC Workspace Program, New York; in August, 2012 she took part at The Banff Centre Visual Arts Program: 01 The Retreat: A Position of dOCUMENTA (13), Alberta, Canada; from 2014 through 2016 she is taking part in the Open Sessions at the Drawing Center, New York. In 2012 Lerman co-founded Torrance Shipman Gallery, an artist run space in Brooklyn.
The Transformation series, one of the Society for Contemporary Craft’s signature programs, was established in 1997 as a biennial juried exhibition focusing on traditional craft media–glass, wood, metal, clay, and found materials–in rotation. The exhibition seeks out an international selection of artists redefining their medium to create work that is challenging and thought provoking; inviting us all to reconsider our notion of “craft.”
This year’s focus is on clay. Clay has been used, decorated, coveted, and collected for thousands of years, yet in the hands of contemporary artists this irresistible medium continues to surprise through innovative techniques, forms, and functions. Visitors are invited to see what happens when makers push the boundaries of time-honored craft materials—right before our eyes, something old is new again.
In conjunction with each Transformation exhibition, the jurors award the participating artist whose work best displays the tenets of excellence and innovation the Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder’s Prize. Named in honor of SCC’s founder, the award is accompanied by a $5000 cash prize.
Transformation 9: Contemporary Works in Ceramics features the work of all 31 of the Raphael Prize finalists, a selection of internationally recognized and emerging artists. The exhibition highlights outstanding and innovative examples of contemporary works in clay, all of which have been created within the last year. The work of three regional artists—Chuck Johnson of Venango, PA, Erica Nickol of Pittsburgh, PA, and Ian Thomas of Slippery Rock, PA—is included in the exhibition.
Linda Swanson of Montreal, Quebec has been selected as the winner of the Society for Contemporary Craft’s (SCC) 2013 Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder’s Prize competition. Two honorable mention honorees, Lauren Gallaspy of Salt Lake City, UT and Lee Somers of Montevallo, AL, and one merit recipient, Lauren Mabry of Philadelphia, PA, were also announced at the exhibition opening on April 25, 2014.
Swanson’s winning entry, Cypreus Lumen, 2013, is a 20 inch round wall disk made from crystalline glazed porcelain with a painted aluminum rim. The turquoise glaze looks almost liquid with the faintest ripple of movement on the surface. A patch of deep red disrupts the calm in a dynamic swirl of motion. “Processes of change, formation, and dissolution are caught in this crystalline glazed surface,” says Swanson of the piece. “A flow of molten colorants in an optically ambivalent and luminous frozen moment recalls geology as well as biology, and elicits material affinities between the body and the world around us.”
As the 2013 Raphael Prize winner, Swanson shows several other ceramic works in Transformation 9, each exploring the changing nature of matter. A site-specific installation similar to her piece Osmogenesis (recently seen at the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, MN) was installed in SCC’s main gallery throughout the run of the exhibition. Combining the slow and steady drip of water onto a clay-covered steel surface, the piece is constantly changing. As the water burrows through the clay, the underlying metal surface is exposed in a collection of bubbling craters. Swanson describes the piece as exploring the “interdependence of organism and environment, as well as organism and organism – in which one species is created, or at least sustained, by and through another.”
Born in Los Angeles, CA, Swanson received her B.A. in Art History from University of California Santa Barbara, her B.F.A. in Ceramics from California State University, and her M.F.A. in Ceramics from the School of Art and Design at Alfred University, Alfred, NY. Currently, she lives in Montreal, Canada where she is an Assistant Professor at Concordia University. Swanson’s ceramics have been exhibited in SOFA Chicago with the Lacoste Gallery, Elemental at the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, and INFESTATION, a public art installation at the Parcs Canada Lachine Canal Historic Site in Montreal. In 2013, Swanson was named an Emerging Artist by NCECA, the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts.
An honorable mention award was given to Lauren Gallaspy for her piece, Giving Up the Ghost, 2014. The startling 16” tall sculpture combines soft, feminine lines with a mass of ceramics shards and strips. Gallaspy received her M.F.A. in Ceramics from Alfred University and has been named a NCECA Emerging Artist. She describes her work as being “about imbalance—the vulnerability of living things— and the sometimes violent, sometimes pleasurable, almost always complex consequences that occur when bodies and objects in the world come into contact with one another.”
A second honorable mention award was presented to Lee Sommers for his work, Scape IV, 2014. Having also received his M.F.A. in Ceramics from Alfred University, his work has been exhibited throughout the United States and China. Known for his distinctive ceramic collages, Sommers explains his process as “a coupling of fleeting notions and physical realities. Collage is a key strategy in both the physical and conceptual organization of my work. Drawing from a variety of sources, ongoing acts of sampling, collecting and cataloging, leads to a critical mass of components. Weaving a matrix of relations between these parts, I find compositional epiphanies - parallels to aesthetic experiences etched in my memory.”
Additionally, the jurors gave a merit award to Lauren Mabry for her piece, Curved Plane, 2013. The artist, a M.F.A. graduate from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, describes her work as “painterly, abstract, ceramic sculpture.”
The jury for the 2013 prize was composed of Joshua Green, Executive Director of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts; Jae Won Lee, a Korean American ceramic artist and Associate Professor at Michigan State University; Alexandra Raphael, enamel artist, London, England; Catherine Raphael, metalsmith and storyteller, Pittsburgh, PA; Kate Lydon, Director of Exhibitions at SCC; and Janet McCall, Executive Director at SCC.
“This prize honors artists who are redefining the boundaries of their media to create work that is challenging and thought-provoking. The strength and recognition of this competition has grown over the past 17 years and continues to challenge our viewers understanding of craft today,” said McCall.
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“In modern art, as everyone knows, the beauty of deformity is very often emphasized, insisted upon. But how different is Korean deformity. The former is produced deliberately, the latter naturally. Korean work is merely the natural result of the artisan’s state of mind, which is free from dualistic man-made rules.”
—Bernard Leach (1887–1979)
Renowned British studio potter Bernard Leach once acknowledged that Korean potters are admired for their naturalism and spontaneity in creating ceramics. Scholars have attempted to define the beauty of Korean ceramics as “artless art” or “unplanned plan.” Indeed, Korean ceramics have been produced by the second nature of matured, skilled hands, sometimes transcending any rules, knowledge, and intentions.
During the twentieth century, Korean artists and theorists grappled with the interplay of modernization and tradition. Some artists looked to the genuine, fresh, and fundamental qualities of Korean potters from the past as inspiration to create more appealing modern concepts. Through Korean ceramics, they have explored a dialogue between the traditional and the contemporary as well as East and West.
The eight artists in this exhibition revive and reinterpret aspects of traditional Korean ceramics in various ways. Yoon Kwang-cho and Lee Kang Hyo discover artistic freedom in Joseon dynasty (1392–1910) buncheong (white-slipped stoneware) ceramics and apply white slip in playful and innovative ways. Buncheong is a distinctive type of Korean ceramic that flourished during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Both artists’ ceramics have the whimsical, rustic, and audacious characteristics of buncheong in addition to contemporary elements. Joseon dynasty whiteware was the main foundation for Kim Yik-yung and Park Young Sook. Park has experimented on the uniquely Korean globular jar, the so-called ‘moon jar,’ while simultaneously exploring other Korean porcelains including a blue-white ware shown in this exhibition. Embracing whitewares’ core traditions, Kim Yik-yung complements innovative surface treatments and explores new types of glaze.
Techniques used in traditional Korean ceramics are another matter for the artists in this exhibition. Roe Kyung Jo is known for his marbled-ware technique (yeollimun). The technique was traditionally used for celadon wares, but Roe applies it to other wares. Onggi, a form of earthenware that predates porcelain production, served various purposes in Korean households. Lee Inchin started his works based on onggi wares but expands the technique using new kinds of glazes and experimenting with their applications.
Koo Bohnchang and Yeesookyung go further in interpreting traditional Korean ceramics. Through photographs and video art (newly created for this exhibition), Koo reveals the organic qualities of Korean ceramics that have been overlooked or disregarded by our bare eyes. Yee utilizes and renders the superfluous aspect in ceramic production. Using abandoned ceramic shards, she translates the original concepts of ceramics into more innovative sculptural works that sometimes puzzle the viewers about the concept of ceramics as art in the twenty-first century.
Although their techniques, methodologies, and approaches are different from each other, these eight artists playfully add complex layers onto the history of Korean ceramics through their own interpretations and expressions. Dual Natures brings fresh perspectives to traditional Korean ceramics and suggests new paths of expression for a new century.
This exhibition is co-organized by the Asian Art Museum and SFO Museum and is curated by Hyonjeong Kim Han, Associate Curator of Korean Art, with assistance from Silvia Hari Chang, and Chihyun Lee at the Asian Art Museum.
Dual Natures in Ceramics is located in Terminal 3, Boarding Area F. The exhibition is located post-security and is only accessible to passengers ticketed for travel through Terminal 3. There is no charge to view the exhibition.