Shimmering art, colored or clear: Shades of glass at Gallery Sklo

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Shimmering art, colored or clear: Shades of glass at Gallery Sklo

When you’re inside Gallery Sklo, the only place in the capital that specializes in glass art, don’t dare utter the words “craft” or “craftsman.”
Currently on display is the exhibition “Flowers, Vases, Lights and Space,” 15 limited-edition works by well-known masters of glass art from France, Italy, Sweden, Australia, Germany, Korea, Britain and the United States.
The gallery’s director, Kim Hyo-jung, attests to the pieces being true works of art by artists, not crafts by craftsmen.
“Glass art is still new in this country, and I’m embarrassed when visitors refer to these priceless works as just crafts or when young students say they specialize in blown glass. They need to learn what glass art really is,” Ms. Kim said.
Her mission is to educate the public and students alike, so she’s glad that her gallery is not located in the Insa-dong or Cheongdam-dong gallery rows.
“We have invited only a small number of potential clients and students, so they can have time and space to appreciate the art pieces.”
Pointing to an abstract piece made with a transparent glass strip that resembles a man’s face, Ms. Kim said, “The subtle shadow behind the man’s face is as alluring as the sculpture itself. Because of the glass’s transparent quality, light becomes a critical element.”
The point of the exhibition also lies in the curator’s idea that glass art can exist not just as an individual artistic sculpture, but a functional objet d’art and a component of spatial art.
She creates home- or office-like settings with the pieces ― putting artificial flowers, for instance, into vases of various colors, sizes and shapes.
In one corner, a series of tarnished silver vases is placed on a long, low-rise wooden console, above which hangs a series of silver glass panels. The vases, “Untitled” (2001), are by the Korean glass artist Kim Joon-yong; the panels, titled “Stratus” (2003), by the American artist Nicole Chesney.
According to Ms. Kim, mist or drops of water are often used as imagery in Chesney’s works. Through numerous raised dots on a series of rectangular silver glass frames, “Stratus” depicts a fine vapor rising atop the ocean surface.
Another such nature-themed work by a Korean artist was arranged with flower vases, incorporating fallen leaves whose fine lines are etched on a sterling silver film glazed on the vases’ surface. To this, the Apgujeong-dong florist Lee Suk-jin added a bundle of curly willow branches. The wall installation, vases and branches together create a minimalist and artistic space, subtly Asian in style.
The British artist Neil Wilkin’s work “Raindrops” (2003) is set against a red panel to create a vivid contrast of colors and shape at the gallery; however, the work is meant to be installed outdoors amid live trees and flowers to create beautiful glass raindrops or icicles that reflect light.
The German artist Ursula Huber’s piece “Ego” (2003), made with royal blue frosted glass, is in the abstracted form of a human head, which makes for a powerful presentation on its own.
For those with an interest in glass art, here’s another attraction: The exhibition of Czech crystal at Seoul Arts Center, which Ms. Kim says is creating some synergy to help educate the public about glass art in Korea.
“The works on display are extremely beautiful and impressive, but again, Koreans misrepresented such great artworks as ‘crafts’ in the title.” Ms. Kim said.
“Czech Crystal Arts and Craft” is running until Sept. 5 at Hangaram Art Museum at Seoul Arts Center; call (02) 539-9789 for information.


by Ines Cho

The exhibition “Flowers, Vases, Lights and Space” is running until August 31. Gallery Sklo is located near Yaksu station, lines No. 3 and 6, Exit 3. From the exit, walk toward Cheonggu station, turn right at Cheonggu 5-gil and walk up about 500 meters.
For more information, call (02) 2236-1583 or visit the Web site www.gallerysklo.co.kr.
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