Dual Natures in Ceramics: Eight Contemporary Artists from Korea / SFO Museum, San Francisco

Dual Natures in Ceramics: Eight Contemporary Artists from Korea / SFO Museum, San Francisco
May 17, 2014 - February 22, 2015

“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.

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Chang Hyun Bang

Chang Hyun Bang South Korean contemporary ceramics

Chang Hyun Bang's profile on Ceramics Now Magazine - View his works

Read the interview with Chang Hyun Bang, New artist - June-July 2011

Born in South Korea, ceramic artist Bang Chang-Hyun studied ceramics and English language and literature at Kyung Hee University in Seoul and continued his studies (a master’s in ceramics) at the State University of New York, New Paltz. Bang was a literature student devoted to practicing novels in his mid-20s, dreaming of becoming a novelist. His career later helped him form his own distinctive visual grammar in his creative activities as a potter. Based on literary imagination, metaphor and symbol, Bang leads viewers to empathy with his personified swine characters.

Bang employs expressionist content and minimalist visual elements in his work. His work represents the gaze at his soul through recollections of the past in unique narratives. Employing a dramatic narrative structure in which a swine appears as protagonist, Bang acutely captures our diverse daily emotions - depression, anxiety, desire, obsession, loss, hallucination, horror - from the viewpoint of an animal. His small, cute swine characters echo viewers who think of them logically and rationally as weak, poor animals. Viewers obsessed with the pigs come to contrast their own life with that of the pigs cast in a dark shadow.

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