Posts tagged Korea
Paintings-Sculptures inspired by Korean Landscapes, Artist Haevan Lee
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Haevan Lee (b.1990, Republic of Korea) expresses the regional context of specific places through various forms including painting, installation, video, and collaborations in other media. DMZ Landscape Series turns restricted or photography-prohibited areas into paintings. The artist has created painting-sculptures by superimposing the layers of landscapes that she experienced while staying at Peace Culture Bunker, an anti-tank defense shelter built after armed North Korean guerillas invaded Seoul, South Korea in January 1968, and presented the works in the exhibition Goliaths, Tanks (2018, Seoul). She is planning and producing DOPA, a collaborative project with contemporary artists, and currently contributes to various exhibitions including those at Buk-Seoul Museum of Art and SeMA storage, and her work is in the collection of MMCA((National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea)Government Art Bank.

Haevan Lee has arranged indications, situations, and apparatus for guessing the aftermath inside peaceful-looking sceneries to reveal a reality of psychological anxieties in the divided Korean peninsula. The artist, who was born in Dongsong area in Cheorwon, Gangwon-do near the DMZ and has always had a curiosity for unknown, unnamed spaces, explores them by either keeping a distance from the view as an observer or mingling within the distances in fantasy.

‘Goliaths, Tanks’ by Haevan Lee is an amalgamation of her paintings and objects weaved together in her site-specific installations and multi-media projections, accompanied by performance pieces. The movement in each object resonating with the sound of ticking clocks serenely draws out the muted anxiety underlying the division of Korean peninsula following the war in the 1950s. The ensemble takes place at the Peace Culture Bunker at the Northern end of Seoul, which was originally built in the late 1960s as a barricade to cut off North Korean ground forces, recently transformed into an art space. The artist embodies the remnants and residues of the space into her entire exhibition, deliberately placing objects along the artillery halls looking out to grass yards where rusty old tanks sit as gravestones.

www.haevanlee.com 

Combining Life-Drawing and Ceramics: Interview with Yurim Gough
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Interview by Alicia Puig


I come from Korea, a country with a historic tradition of ceramics, where I was a fashion designer. By age 30, I had been designing high-heeled shoes for over ten years in Seoul then in Tokyo and London. I emigrated to England in 2007, the first time I had set foot outside Asia. Learning English from scratch and being influenced by the radical change in the culture I went back to being an artist, which was always my first calling. Starting with life drawing and experimenting with other media, I found myself drawn to my cultural roots in ceramics, mixing the two.

In 2013 I made bowls and sketched live models drawing directly onto the contoured surfaces, combining the organic hand-molded form of the bowl with the human form of the model. A couple of years later I began to add imagery to the pieces to extend the narratives that began with the poses, seeking inspiration from what I found captured in the drawings.

 In Asian culture bowls are philosophically connected with humanity; for example, in Korea, we might talk about how big a bowl you have in your mind, so the bowl is holding all your knowledge and experience. I mold the bowls in my hands, and I draw straight onto them, with no plan, never changing a line. My vases are like many bowls coming together inverted into sculptures. Drawing directly onto these with a life model, with a human in front of me, I can be led by their energy and afterward see what of human life can fit into a bowl. What I found drove me to use imagery on top to draw out stories imagined from the lives.


Yurim draws straight onto the surface of each piece. Life drawing in front of the living, breathing model joins the model's pose to the contoured surface of the piece. The lines from the model are communicated through the rough texture to the fired hand built stoneware with a ceramic pencil. The jagged lines soften under the glaze. For some pieces, imagery is overlaid on the drawings.

 www.yurimgough.com

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How did you first become interested in art and can you explain a bit of how it led you to the work you create today?

When I was six years old, my art teacher was surprised to see my paintings and made me participate in an art contest. Painting was the only stabilizer, because I was a little kid who couldn't concentrate. I tried to go to art school with a love of art, but I became a fashion designer. Being a designer was another pleasure for me. It's a process that allows the maker to understand the images of creative imagination through drawing. I'd always heard that my design drawing is more beautiful than the reality. When I first moved to England, I worked briefly as a designer again, but all the circumstances were better suited for art. So, after five years of experience with a new environment, culture, and experimenting with various other media, I fell in love with pottery for the first time.

The passion for life-drawing and my new interest in ceramics have combined, yet my passion for fashion still shows in my work.

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Tell us about the inspiration behind your artwork or a specific series that you're currently working on.

I get inspiration from having a living human being in front of me. It's related to the idea of humanity, and I find that humanity can’t be felt without direct contact with humans. And so I find that the thrill of putting a human live model in front of me when I draw is captured in my work.

For me if it's not life-drawing, it's dead art.

I live and experience this world and express what I see in colour; in particular, my 10 years of fashion design experience and special interest in fashion are part of this new work. 

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How did you end up working with ceramics as your primary medium and what is its significance for you and your art?

"What do I like and also want to do?"  This is the question that created a combination of life-drawing and ceramics, and I think it's really important for many artists to find the right materials first. I found the medium for me and that's ceramics. Ceramics is like a paper or canvas that holds my paintings. I've never had a formal education in pottery. Through my experience as a designer, I developed and analysed an understanding of the material and found that clay and pencil fit me. The failures that arise without formal education are a source of ideas for me ... in my works I can see both failure and success at once.

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Describe your current studio or creative space. What is most important about it or one thing that you definitely need in your work area?

Creative space is really important to me. I can work without having my own kiln for my work, but without a studio my art would stop. My workspace is divided into two. It's a ‘brain space’ on one side and a ‘body space’ on the other. For me, balance is very important, just like our brains. In the brain space, all the planning, data and images are easily attached to the wall to make it easier to see. I plan and organize it just as when I used to work as a designer. 

In the physical space, I make and shape organic hand moulded bowls. It's the same process as meditation that cleans and empties my mind and soul. Then I have a life-drawing space in the middle. I go around the model and find the angle I want to draw. I work in a new studio less than a year old, and I feel it’s a little bit small already... I can see why studio spaces get bigger as artists grow.

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What one piece of creative or business advice would you give to your younger self?

I think all the great artists have already told us.

I also took notes from their comments and put them on my wall.

‘FEARLESS

STRONG

CONFIDENT

READY TO FAIL

DON’T ESCAPE FROM YOURSELF

NOBODY DOES BETTER THAN YOU

BUILD A GOOD NAME’

I want to add ‘LET’S PUT IT INTO PRACTICE AND ACTION’

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Do you have any big collaborations, projects, exhibitions, etc going on during the rest of the year that you'd like to share?

I have a very exciting first solo exhibition, which runs from the 25th May until the 12th June 2019 in London at the Zari gallery. www.zarigallery.co.uk

I also open my studio space in the second and third weeks of July. Located in the centre of the Cambridge, UK.

My self-portrait has been selected and is exhibiting (Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Art Prize) at Piano Nobile, Kings Place in London until the end of September 2019.

https://ruthborchard.org.uk/self-portrait-prize-2019

Complexity Through Minimal Expression: Interview with Yihong Hsu
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Yihong Hsu has an interesting multi-cultural background. She was born in Seoul, Korea as 3rd generation Chinese immigrants. She received American education since elementary school to college. She now lives permanently in Hong Kong.

 Yihong Hsu received her Bachelor of Art in Graphic Design at  Maryland Institute, College of Art, USA and later received her Master in Arts, Design Management, at International Design Advanced Studies Hongik University in Seoul, Korea.  

Her multi-national and cultural background lead her to have a successful career in design and branding industry for 18 years.

In 2018, she had a first break through as an artist, by being commissioned to do an art installation of 10 meter wide giant Panda and 7 meters tall Camellia tree - LOVE.FOUND. in Chongqing IFS mall (with co-artist Simone Carena of Italy). Ever since, she has found a new passion in contemporary art and have been painting for the past year. 

Artist Statement

Seed Series

The “Seed Series” was developed as a personal interpretation of nature and carries a deeper meaning of how that relates to us - humans. Flowers are portrayed as carriers of the seeds. All flowers carry female and male parts and thus self-reproductive. It is in all nature of things, a desire to reproduce and seeds are the beginning of that. My paintings are the exploration of seeds, seeds journey. Every seed will carry its own path, it may fall out sometime, it will one day be received, and it will grow.

Ball Series

Circles (balls) are very intriguing. They create movement and tension in the space and create odd spaces around them. They are so simple yet so powerful and I find myself using circles (balls) to interpret life, my own encounters, experiences, and emotion. Using the most minimal expression to interpret some complicated thoughts.

Interview by Alicia Puig

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How did you first become interested in art, and can you explain a bit of how it led you to the work you create today? 

I was a graphic designer for 18 years working in branding and advertising agencies. During those years, I always felt like there was an artist in every designer.

However, designers are very restricted, as they also have to be sensitive to the project's objectives, client's needs, market trends, etc. I was longing for freedom to express myself the way I wanted to and about things I was interested in. In 2018, I was lucky to be commissioned to do an art installation piece in Chongqing, China. A 10-meter long chrome finishing panda lying on top of Chongqing IFS shopping mall complex - named LOVE.FOUND. (co-artist Simone Carena) and a 7-meter tall metal-chrome camellia tree. During the project, which lasted one year, I did a lot of research on flowers and how to express them. I sketched a lot of camellias and ways to make it more interesting. It is during this time that I fell in love with flowers and nature and decided to quit my 18 years of career in advertising and start the journey of depicting flowers and nature. I have been painting ever since and find it very therapeutic and self-satisfying. 

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We love that some of your work is minimalist while other pieces have more complex layering and patterns. Can you tell us about what inspires you? 

It was a long train of thought and curiosity that led to these two very different types of paintings. I personally called them the "seed series" and "ball series." As I started to dig into and experimenting with different ways of expressing flowers, I became more curious about the anatomy of the flower. Something not everyone draws about when they draw beautiful outskirt of flowers. What I learned from the biological anatomy diagrams of flowers was that all flowers carry female and male parts and what I thought were the seeds of flowers were only pollens and that the seeds are carried deep inside the ovary and ovule. This was very intriguingand interesting to me, and it inspired me to start painting flowers always emphasizing on the seeds that they carry. I also started to imagine them all around us in nature, how they strive to survive and get transferred to other flowers, and so on. To me, it somehow reflects human life and what we go through in life. For the "ball series," it began when I started to draw a lot of circles for the "seed series." It was very fun and interesting to me how circles affect the space around it. It gives a sense of motion even in a still 2-dimensional space. It is a perfect round-edge shape but provides oddness. I was inspired to just use circles (balls) and the most minimal expression to depict this tension. When I want to tell a very complicated story and put a title to the "ball series" pieces, it makes perfect sense!

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What is your process like? Do you do a lot of sketching or make work more intuitively? 

I do a few sketches before just to make sure what is already in my head looks okay on flat surface. 

Describe your current studio or creative space. What is most important about it or one thing that you definitely need in your work area?

My creative space is an extra room at my place that I transformed into my workspace. There is no most important "thing" for me. I just need absolute silence and natural sunlight. I love my big window. 

What is your favorite thing about being an artist? That I can transform my thoughts and feelings into art. I don't need to organize my thoughts into PowerPoint slides and excel sheets and use fancy words to write about it. I just draw them. I feel free!