Dahye Jeong Solo Exhibition 정다혜 개인전

장소 : Gallery 5, 4 Cromwell Place, South Kensington, London SW7 2JE

기간 : 2023.05.09 - 05.14

참여작가 : 정다혜


Selected as the winner of the 2022 Loewe Foundation Craft Prize, Dahye Jeong continues the legacy of Korea’s diminishing craft in horsehair. She has expanded the traditional craft in new ways through her contemporary interpretation. Graduating from studying traditional textiles at the Korea National University of Cultural Heritage for her master degree, she has truly discovered her own voice in craft.

The weaves and structures that Dahye creates for her see-through vessels root back to the traditional men’s headwear of the Joseon Dynasty. The most interesting aspect of Dahye’s work is her notion on time. She states that horsehair is the physical material and time, the abstract material. 

Therefore, it is about contextualizing time. She has put horsehair in a new context. Her work has gained widespread recognition, winning awards at the Cheongju Craft Biennale in 2021 and the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize in 2022.

Her first solo exhibition in the UK, titled "MIND, HAND, and TIME," showcases her latest works, including a series of horsehair objects inspired by traditional Korean ceramics, additionally as introducing new pieces in three and two dimensions.

2022년, 세계적인 공모전인 ‘로에베 재단 공예상’에서 유수의 공예 작가들 가운데 ‘대상’을 차지한정다혜 작가는 1989년 제주 출생으로, 한국전통문화대학교 전통미술공예학과 전통섬유 석사 졸업후 말총 공예 작업 활동을 이어가고 있다.

말(馬)의 털을 뜻하는 말총을 소재로 작업하는 정다혜 작가는 약 500년 이상 이어져 오는 한국 전통 공예 기술 그대로 올 한 올의 말총을 고리 감듯 엮어 제작한다. 예전 사회에서는 말총 소재의 탄성, 가벼운 무게를 이용해 조선시대 신분을 나타내었던 모자(갓, 탕건, 망건) 혹은 생활 공예품을 제작하였으나, 시대와 생활양식이 변함에 따라 말총 공예는 점차 쇠퇴되었고 제작자 역시 현저히 줄어들었다.

정다혜 작가는 사라져가는 말총 공예의 맥을 이음과 동시에 현대 예술로써의 가치를 부여하였고, 낯선 전통 소재의 무한한 확장성을 제시하며 전 세계적인 각광을 받고 있다. 전통적 기법과 패턴을 고수하되, 새로운 형태 및 패턴 연구에 정성을 다하여 말총 공예를 발전시킨 공을 인정받아 2021 청주공예비엔날레 공예공모전 대상, 2022 로에베 재단 공예 공모전 위너 선정 등 현 공예 분야에서 가장 주목 받고 있는 작가이다.

영국에서 열리는 작가의 첫 개인전 <MIND, HAND, and TIME>에서는 백 말총을 주된 재료로, 그간 선보였던 토기의 형태에서 영감을 받은 말총 오브제 시리즈와 더불어 새롭게 제작한 한국 전통 항아리 형태, 부조 평면작을 선보인다. 천연 말총의 자연미와 세련된 미감에 더해진 빛과 반사, 그림자의 음영의 조화에서 탄생하는 시각적 아름다움을 오감으로 느낄 수 있다.

Dahye Jeong Solo Exhibition


Exhibition Scenography

Horsehair as a Physical Material; 

Time as an Abstract Material

About Korean Craft

The hand crafting skill of the Korean people, is unique. For centuries Korea has developed a making culture that is quite distinct and today, it is experiencing a phenomenon that is truly exciting. To understand craft it is important to know the environment in which the creativity of an individual comes from because the individual accounts for history, material, technique and evolution of human beings. This is what makes craft interesting at the same time difficult as so many different subjects are integrated in the single word “craft”. Moreover, craft can be analyzed from different viewpoints because historically it has defined the story of people and society. Craft is a reflection of trend and time - keeping with the momentum of the time frame in which something is made. The geography and the topography determines creativity explaining its identity, choice of material and making technique. 

The Korean peninsula is located on the furthest tip of the Asian continent. Historically it has shared and still shares the border with China, Mongolia and Russia, additionally as being the gateway to Asia for Japan. The geographical location explains much about the Korean culture. While receiving influences from its surrounding neighbours, throughout history Korea has always been about survival – countless attacks from China, Mongolia and Japan. It has always kept hidden some of its own traits as a means to preserve and develop authenticity.

About Dahye Jeong

Dahye Jeong comes from the furthest southern part of the Korean peninsula, and in a location that is quite separate as she comes from an island. She grew up surrounded by sea in all corners, the Halla Mountain in the centre of Jeju Island, with abundance of nature. Her parents own a natural dye workshop with acres of land filled with many different plant species. One can imagine a child happily exploring nature’s wonders in her parents’ workplace. The choice to pursue something creative as a career seemed to have been a natural one for Dahye. In university, she studied sculpture and then she moved away from home to continue her studies at the Korea National University of Cultural Heritage under the Cultural Heritage Administration. The move was a life changing transition as her deep-rooted characteristics, had to adapt to a new way of living. Furthermore she changed her major from sculpture to textile in a school that put strong emphasis on the preservation and the lineage of Korean tradition. Dahye’s creativity even as a university undergraduate student had strong ties with textiles having grown up surrounded by fibres, fabrics and dyes. 

Dahye has immersed herself in studying historical objects visiting numerous museums around Korea. Her opportunity to work with horsehair came through a project conducted by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. It was a research based study on craft of her own homeland, Jeju Island. Through it she was able to learn about herself once again. She practiced making the Joseon Dynasty men’s headwear under the mentorship of local craftspeople. In Korea, there are only few regions that practice the trait today – one in Tongyeong and the other in Jeju Island. The experience opened her eyes and from then on she was able to seek her own path.

Dahye’s personality is about finding sincerity within herself with the desire to remain honest and true as a human being. Such traits are strongly rooted to Confucian values. The most interesting aspect of Dahye’s work is her notion on time. Her creativity requires much concentration and patience. Evidently the hand skill must be developed to strive for immaculate execution, but without immersion of the mind it is impossible. She states that horsehair is the physical material and time, the abstract material. Therefore, it is about contextualizing time.

The weaves and structures that Dahye creates for her see-through vessels root back to the men’s headwear of the Joseon Dynasty. There are several different weave patterns depending on the type of head piece. For instance, there is the basic head band known as 'manggun' and it is a simple weave. Then there is the 'tanggun', a cap like head piece, worn on top of the manggun. This has vertical patterns with two humps. The 'jeongjagwan' is like a three-pointed structure appearing triangular, and this would be worn on top of the manggun. Korean men in the Joseon Dynasty were more elaborate than today and often such costumes were a way of identifying social status and government positions. Only the highest officials and scholars wore elaborate head pieces. They themselves are sculptural in shape and it is most appropriate that Dahye references her work on their formative qualities.

Horsehair as a material, that is both rare and special. For centuries it has been used in many different cultures for brushes, for instruments and more. In Korea it is specifically for the men’s headwear. The light but strong material is apt for making head pieces and because of its woven nature, it also allowed air to circulate. This ancient material has been transformed into a unique craft object that is truly original. Dahye won the Grand Prize at the Cheongju International Craft Competition in 2021. Two large vessels, which seemed to have been inspired by prehistoric combed pattern earthenware of Korea, remained in the corner elegantly as if to say “please have a look at me”. Since then Dahye’s creativity has been highly praised. In 2022, Dahye also won the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize, the decision was unanimous and she has become a “cultural ambassador” for Korea contributing to the Korean Wave that we are currently experiencing globally. 

Dahye Jeong’s work has a unique place in contemporary craft. Soluna Art Group is delighted to showcase Dahye Jeong’s work at Cromwell Place for the 2023 London Craft Week.

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