Two artistic media come together with surprising results
Collaborations are nothing new in the world of art, but the Gallery LVS in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul, presents an exceptionally unlikely pairing: A combination of glass art and traditional Korean lacquerware.
Gallery LVS’s exhibition “Beyond Color” runs until June 22 and displays works created by glass artist Youn Tae-sung in collaboration with lacquer artist Jeong Eun-jin.
Jeong is the daughter of Chung Hae-jo, a master artisan of Korean lacquerware. She grew up watching her father make lacquerware and followed in his footsteps, but with a modern touch of her own. For the past decade, Jeong has been making lacquered wooden cups and chopsticks employing vibrant color schemes and bold designs that appeal to the young.
This time, she worked with Youn to merge his glass works with lacquer art. Jeong coated Youn’s clear glass cups, bowls and vases with lacquer. Her color palette mainly uses obangsaek, Korea’s traditional color spectrum of red, blue, yellow, white and black, which she is known to frequently incorporate into her art.
While lacquer is conventionally applied to wood and results in vivid colors, it looks much different on glass. The color of lacquer coatings turns out much lighter on glass, resulting in pastel hues with a matte finish. To add flare, Jeong spun some of the lacquered cups on a pottery wheel to paint on thin horizontal lines of various colors with a fine-tip brush, creating mini pastel rainbows on the cups.
About half of the works on display were created by Youn alone, demonstrating his caneworking skills. Caneworking is a glassblowing technique when glass rods of multiple colors are blown at once to create an intricate spiral or stripe pattern in glass. Youn’s canework cups, bowls and vases show patterns of many different colors while retaining the clarity of the glass, so that even their shadows are colorful.
Other works by Youn include glass tableware sets with real gold flakes embedded inside, and a mobile-like installation of dozens of glass lamps elaborately blown into diamond shapes and lit from within.
The all-white gallery is lit with vibrant colors and crystal-clear sparkles of glass and lacquer art.
“Glass art is particularly difficult and expensive,” curator Lee You-jin of Gallery LVS told the KoreaJoong Ang Daily. “Its ingredients and furnaces are expensive, and the art requires a very high level of skills. The process is physically taxing, and there’s a good chance the works will be botched.
“That’s why glass artworks tend to be costly, but those who buy them admire how intricate they are. It’s not an easy or popular genre by any means, but we want to hold these exhibitions to help people appreciate the beauty of glass art.”
BY HALEY YANG [email@example.com]