'All About Attitude' is all about Korean crafts
For those who were unable to make it to Milan to see the beautiful crafts at the 9th Korean Craft Exhibition last September, there's no need to fret.
“All About Attitude” is back bigger and better at Culture Station Seoul 284 in Jung District, central Seoul. The homecoming exhibition increased the number of artworks and teams of artists — some 290 crafts by 38 teams — and this time, it lasts for more than two months instead of the short-lived six days.
The original exhibition, hosted by the Korea Craft & Design Foundation (KCDF), was part of Milan Design Week 2021, which was held from Sept. 5 to 10.
“The overseas exhibition was smaller in scale, so under the same theme we brought together more artists and rearranged the pieces to match better with the space [Culture Station Seoul 284],” Kang Jae-young, the artistic director of both “All About Attitude” exhibitions, said during a press conference last Tuesday.
Kang is the CEO of Mangrove Artworks and specializes in curating craft exhibitions.
Like its original counterpart, “All About Attitude” is about the hopes of changing humans’ attitudes toward crafts and transforming the genre into a sustainable art form.
“The methods of creating crafts has changed a lot,” Kang said. “Traditional methods are not necessarily superior. I believe that the genre of crafts, as in using natural materials and putting efforts in to make art is much eco-friendlier than using disposable products. It can be truly introspective on the problems of humanity. What’s important [for crafts] isn’t showing off techniques — knowing what the property of each craft is. It’s better to utilize things like hanji [traditional Korean paper] and turn them into crafts in the 21st century.”
The new exhibition is divided into three sections of the same name as the original: All About Earthbound, All About Posture and All About Companion.
In All About Earthbound, crafts seek to create equal mutual relations among humans, objects and nature.
Buan-Gwanyo, a quintet of ceramic artists consisting of Kim Munsik, Kang Euiseok, Son Seungho, Yoon Sungsic and Im Juntaek, recreated celadons from the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) using traditional methods. This team is a new addition to the Seoul edition of “All About Attitude” and in the exhibition has placed each of some 100 celadons on separate piles of salt, symbolizing the harmony between nature and humans.
Crafts in the next section, All About Posture, pursues modernizing traditional Korean culture, like the sedentary lifestyle. Furniture brand Monstructure presents modular furniture that can be tailored flexibly.
All About Companion has pieces that are like “companions” to humans, like jewelry and other accessories. They are not disposable and last for generations as they have significant and personal value to their owners. Artist Oh Serin’s beautiful shiny gold metalwork pieces utilized some questionable things off the street, like rotten tangerines.
What makes this edition of the craft exhibition unique is that it provides a wide range of programs for visitors to make their own crafts with the aid of the respective artists and even offers opportunities to hear about the artists' stories of how they created their crafts.
“We are aware that crafts have always been perceived as something difficult to understand among the general public, which is why this time we have the artists themselves give demonstrations on making their crafts and added many hand-on programs for visitors,” Kang said.
Visitors are able to make their own hanji, which is made from mulberry and is known to be tough and does not rip easily. Visitors can also make a mobile from hanji or use a pottery wheel to make ceramics. Most programs are free and run every day.
Some programs, however, like weaving bamboo strips into baskets or making your own celadon cups require reservations in advance and have a fee. Reservations can be made through Naver.
On Saturdays, five chosen artisans from the exhibition will talk about their respective fields of work in an hour-long lecture from 2 p.m. Starting April 2, the first lesson will be by textile artist Han Sunju; April 16 will be led by ceramic artist Maeng Wookjae; April 30 by metal craftsperson Shin Hyejung; May 14 by ceramic artist Kim Seayoung and finally May 28 by furniture designer Bahk Jongsun.
“All About Attitude” lasts until May 29. No reservations are required and the exhibition is free to all. The final week of the exhibition falls on the same week as the annual 2022 Korea Craft Week, also hosted by the KCDF. Culture Station Seoul 284 is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. except Mondays. For more information, visit the website www.craft284.kr
BY SHIN MIN-HEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]