Ceramics re-imagined to shatter old notions

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Ceramics re-imagined to shatter old notions

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The glazed ceramic sculpture “African” by Shin Sang-ho is part of the “Ceramics Commune” exhibition at Artsonje Center. Provided by the gallery

Ceramics are often described in flowery language as the art of earth and fire and are said to be one of the oldest art forms, but for many people, the word only conjures images of containers.

The exhibition “Ceramics Commune,” going on at Artsonje Center in central Seoul, seeks to shatter these notions.

The show, with the participation of 16 artists including five artist groups, not only features container crafts in the traditional blue-green celadon of the Goryeo period (918-1392) and the white porcelains of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897) but also encompasses various genres of art including sculpture, painting, installation and performance.

The “K[ne(e){a}{a}d] Project” by the artist team Amber Ginsburg and Joseph Madrigal is a performance with ceramic art related to basic life functions such as work and eating. During the performance, the artists knead clay to make terra-cotta molds in the shapes of human body parts. Then they knead dough and bake it in the molds to make bread. Afterward, they pass the bread around in a ritual recalling Communion.

“This exhibition explores the potential for ceramics to become more than just containers and what ceramics mean to us today,” said Lee Ihn-bum, professor of art at Sangmyung University and the exhibition curator.

The show also includes work by Yeesookyung - sculptures with abandoned ceramic fragments affixed with a gold leaf and epoxy mixture.

“Yee provides new interpretations of solid cultural memories surrounding ceramics and reconstitutes them into a modern story of ceramics of today,” the galley said in a press release.

Meanwhile, Shin Sang-ho’s ceramic sculptures and a large-scale ceramic panel examine the conventional boundaries of ceramic art.

Through the project “Another Way of Seeing,” the artist Oum Jeong-soon, in partnership with an educational program for the visually impaired, shows drawings and sculptures made by children with visual impairments.

“The works seek to invoke a sense of alarm at the artworks, which are devoid of concept and pursue only a reckless use of modernist ideals,” the galley said in the release.

The other participants are the craft group Gangjin-yo, the artist group Nayoungim & Gregory Maass, Kim Na-hyung, Na-hyun, Shin Mee-kyoung, Ahn Joon-cheol, Lee Seung-taek, Jean Pierre Raynaud, Choi In-soo, Choi Jiman and Han Sang-gu.

*The show runs through Feb. 26. Admission is 3,000 won ($2.66) for adults. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays to Sundays. Go to Anguk Station, line No. 3, exit 1, and walk for 10 minutes. For details, visit artsonje.org/asc/ or call (02) 733-8945.

By Moon So-young [symoon@joongang.co.kr]
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