Where romancing the stone is easy to do

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Where romancing the stone is easy to do

From the moment I viewed the the exhibition “Semi Preciosa,” the sight of so many handsome rocks was tempting enough for me to consider plunking one down in the middle of my apartment.
And wouldn’t a chip of that jade or quartz look good around my neck? I wondered -- for a fleeting second.
These thoughts are greatly encouraged by the Park Ryu Sook Gallery’s “touching permitted” policy for this exhibition, unusual in the world of art shows.
The sculpted rocks are the works of Kim Yun-shin, 68, an artist who has lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, since 1984. She is holding her first sculpture exhibition in Korea in eight years.
Ms. Kim’s finely crafted pieces may appear rough and ordinary on the surface, but on the inside they reveal a brilliant range of colors in mesmerizing patterns.
The sculptor captivates your eye by taking special care with the angle and manner in which she divides and hews one of nature’s toughest materials.
Her semi-precious rocks come in many sizes and weigh 70 to 100 kilograms (154 to 220 pounds) each. The rocks measure, on average, 40 centimeters (16 inches). Jade and crystal, in particular, are not easily cut, and the artist used an electric saw.
The collection is subtitled “Divide I and Divide II” to connote the cutting of the stones, and each stone is simply labeled with a bold-face signature of the artist’s name and a number on the side.
Although the types of rocks vary, they all share one important trait: They have three rectangular “arms” jutting at severe angles from a common base.
A Roman Catholic, Ms. Kim says the tri-motif symbolizes the Holy Trinity.
“I consider my works to be a kind of conversation with God,” she says.
Interestingly, when I put my hand on top of a pink crystal, I felt heat emanating from the stone’s surface.
The 20-odd rocks on display are indigenous to Brazil and were mostly cut in 2001. “I travel around South America using materials that are unique to each nation,” she says. “My next work involves metals mixed with gold from Bolivia.”
In the past, Ms. Kim has sculpted using materials such as wood and onyx, but this exhibit focuses solely on rocks. The exhibition runs until Tuesday in Cheongdam-dong.

by Choi Jie-ho

For more information, call (02) 549-7574 or visit www. parkryusookgallery. co.kr.
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