Light of Weaving : Labour-Hand-Hours

Traveling Korean Arts Project

장소 : Grand Buildings, 1-3 Strand, WC2N 5BW, Korean Cultural Centre UK

기간 : 2023.05.11 - 06.30

참여작가 : 조대용, 김익영, 신혜림, 이규홍, 천우선, 박성열, 장재녕, 이영선, 권중모, 정다혜, 하신혁

주최 : KOFICE, Korean Cultural Centre UK, 


지원 : London Craft Week, LOEWE FOUNDATION

The Korean Cultural Centre UK, the Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange (KOFICE) and Soluna Art Group, proudly present Light of Weaving: Labour-Hand-Hours from 11 May to 30 June 2023. While reflecting upon the notion of ‘weaving’ in craft, this exhibition explores long-established Korean materials and techniques that have been handed down to us across the centuries.

Each work presented in this exhibition celebrates the labour-intensive techniques of weaving, twisting, coiling, and welding, with a special emphasis on the objects’ silhouette and texture. The installations, therefore, utilise both light and shadow to expand the identity of the works. At the same time, the artists intertwine traditional elements with more contemporary forms and design. Daeyong Cho, who has been designated as one of Korea’s intangible cultural assets, uses traditional methods that date back to the Joseon Dynasty to create Korean style blinds made from bamboo. Other craft artists such as Jungmo Kwon explore the potential of Hanji (traditional paper) through the creation of unique lights and lamps, whereas Dahye Jeong creates contemporary works delicately weaved from horsehair.

By bringing Korean craft to a global audience, this exhibition presents one with the opportunity to encounter tradition

through contemporary objects that radiate the essence of Korean beauty.

This exhibition is presented as part of London Craft Week 2023.

[Participating Artists]

Woosun Cheon | Daeyong Cho | Shinhyeok Ha | Jaenyoung Jang | Dahye Jeong | Yikyung Kim | Jungmo Kwon | Kyouhong Lee | Youngsun Lee | Sungyoul Park | Healim Shin

Exhibition flow

Light of Weaving : Labour-Hand-Hours

Exhibition Scenography

The exhibition presents the finest Korean craft. Historically Korea has been known for its hand skills and in the exhibition we highlight this through artists who have special making skills and approaches with different materials. Some are continuing in the lineage of Korean ancestors – like Daeyong Cho, national intangible cultural property for bamboo blinds, and the fifth generation continuing the trait – some re-interpret ancient ways to develop their own methods – like Dahye Jeong with the diminishing technique of working with horsehair and some are simply working in a modern way.

The exhibition focuses on,

Labour – technique and material

Hand – delivering aesthetics and expression

Time – practice, mastering, understanding, and executing

The above aspects are in the work, and they have been selected specifically to show the above three important factors that actually define craft in general.

The display has been done to give a sense of subtlety, calmness, and at the same time elegance. 

An essence of entering into a royal palace in Korea has been added with the blinds at the front, and on the windows and additionally using the dancheong green in the center of the space. The entire exhibition plays with spaces found in Korean palaces – hwaerang (gallery) and joongjeong (main hall within a palace). Most exhibitions shown until now in the UK focused much on ceramics. This time the intention was to move away from that to show diversity in Korean craft. The concept of weaving based on threading, sewing, tying, assembling, and connecting have all been embedded in the exhibition title. Although the materials are different, the approaches are comparable to one another.

Korea’s craft in hanji (Korean paper, Mulberry paper) is represented through the lights – intricate approaches through the bamboo blinds (bamboo has been striped into fine pieces and threaded together with silk thread) – horsehair based on the Joseon Dynasty men’s headwear making – glass that has been cast and polished with gold and ottchil (lacquer). These are some of the highlights, and to end the moon jar in the exhibition, a similar piece was presented to King Charles for his coronation, made by Yikyung Kim, she is one of the finest moon jar makers today. It has been purposely included in the exhibition to draw attention from the British audience.

We hope that the exhibition has given you a feel of Korean craft, and its detailed finesse.

Description on Artists

Daeyong Cho

National Intangible Cultural Property for making bamboo blinds, Daeyong Cho is the fifth generation maker and one of a kind in Korea. Bamboo blinds root back to the Joseon dynasty (1392 – 1910), mainly used in the royal court to maintain social discretion and for shielding sunlight. It was a form of decoration. The bamboo wood is sliced finely to weave with colourful silk thread. Patterns were often added. It is a painstaking technique taking months to complete a single piece. Daeyong Cho has been making blinds for about 57 years and he is currently passing the trait on to his daughter, Sookmi Cho and also his son-in-law, Dongho Lee.

Yikyung Kim

First generation contemporary ceramic artist, Yikyung Kim has reinterpreted the Joseon Dynasty porcelain in her own way, making both functional and aesthetical pieces. She is known for making bold and dynamic statement simultaneously as maintaining subtlety and refinement in her linear expressions. The years of training, cultivating and developing in her work today. Yikyung Kim’s moon jar has recently been collected by the British royal family.

Healim Shin

Healim Shin’s creative ideas transcends the limitation of any material. Her technique surpasses leather, metal, ottchil (lacquer) and more. Furthermore, she is able to work broadly creating one-off art pieces and also making art jewellery. Hours of repeating the same techniques have enabled her to create a wide range of work experimenting with harmony, deconstruction simultaneously as playing with light, shadow and colour. There exists originality and vigour in her work. The making technique is metaphorically translated. Healim Shin has been selected as the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize Finalist 2023.

Kyouhong Lee

Kyouhong Lee is constantly conjuring up unexpected techniques in applying glass. He combines glass with ottchil (lacquer), gold and more to seek for new expressions. The inspiration comes from Korean ancient utilitarian objects such as grinding stones, ironing stones and more. He remains true to Korean aesthetics re-interpreting them in new ways. Kyouhong Lee has been selected as the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize Finalist 2023.

Woosun Cheon

Metal wire has been repeatedly welded in the work. They are cut and connected depending on the artist’s intentions. The shapes have been inspired by classical Korean ceramic vessels, concentrating on linear qualities and negative spaces. They are metaphysical expressions.

Woosun Cheon’s technique in making is such that the material he uses in not obvious. The texture of the work is original at the same time as his understanding of lines and spaces. Woosun Cheon has been selected as the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize Finalist 2023.

Sungyoul Park

Sungyoul Park is a master at understanding different materials in particular ottchil (lacquer). He uses the sap (resin) of the ott-tree to create his pieces. The sap is stretched and spread on either canvas or molds, and through repeated layering, he gives birth to new shapes. The method of working with ottchil (lacquer) in an ancient trait. Sungyoul Park has truly invented a new way of working. He was selected as the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize Finalist for 2021.

Jaenyoung Jang

Inspired by British studio ceramics, Jaenyoung Jang makes functional objects. He focuses on the difference between Korean and British studio ceramics, discovering new possibilities which are both similar and different. Jaenyoung Jang is interested in ‘vessel’ forms, and he attempts to create new interpretations. There exists subtlety in his transformations which are fine.

Jaenyoung Jang is currently Professor at the Department of Ceramics at Gongju National University.

Youngsun Lee

Working as a textile artist and fashion designer for many years, Youngsun Lee has researched on sustainable materials in fashion design. The work uses recycled fabrics to create landscapes. Youngsun Lee is interested in preserving the environment. She has created winter landscapes based on scenic Korean sites. Upcycled silk pieces dyed in coal and indigo are layered to create artworks.

Jungmo Kwon

Jungmo Kwon studied industrial design in Spain. He is inspired by the Korean house known as hanok. Materials applied to building the Korean style house is his main source of creative motivation, in particular the Korean paper, hanji. Jungmo Kwon creates lights using hanji. In 2019, Jungmo Kwon won the Lexus Creative Masters Award. He adds contemporary aesthetics to authentic Korean materials.

Dahye Jeong

The horsehair is transformed into three dimensional vessel shapes, reliefs and more by Dahye Jeong. Her unique approach with the material has drawn much global attention truly representing this ancient material. She has mastered the technique of making traditional Korean men’s headwear ‘gat’ to create new forms, experimenting with shape and pattern. Dahye Jeong’s talent has been gained recognition be winning the Cheongju International Craft Competition in 2021 and also the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize in 2022. She is currently the most talked about artist in the field of craft.

Shinhyeok Ha

A young rising artist in Korea, Shinhyeok experiments with the coiling technique in ceramics to create a landscape much like the ancient ink brush paintings of the Joseon Dynasty. He incorporates gradation of colour to create a landscape-like expression using clay transcending material and space. Shinhyeok Ha’s ideas are innovative and he has much potential for future development.

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