Gallery: Artspace K
Artist(s): Liu Yang
Opening / Event Date: 24 Feb, 2022
Closing / End Date: 3 Jul, 2022
Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange (KOFICE), Korean Cultural Center in Hong Kong, and Soluna Art Group are pleased to present a group exhibition ‘Ode to the Moon: 吟風詠月 (음풍영월)’ in Hong Kong. This special exhibition is supported by KOFICE, an organization in charge of international cultural exchange projects of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in Korean Cultural Centers abroad. ‘Ode to the Moon’ is part of the bigger project by KOFICE entitled ‘Living by Design’ with an aim to showcase various media works from paintings to photography, objects, and crafts by 12 contemporary Korean artists, and reveal their individual journeys of exploring the diversity of Korean aesthetic values from a synchronized perspective. It breaks down the boundaries between art and materiality to present Korean aesthetics and encourage exploration of their inherent values. ‘Ode to the Moon: 吟風詠月 (음풍영월)’ will be on view from 13 January to 12 March 2022, with an opening on 13 January 2022 (Thursday) at 6PM.
The dictionary meaning of the four-character-idiom 음풍영월 (吟風詠月), which inspired the title of the exhibition ‘Ode to the Moon‘, describes the act of composing poetry in the crisp air under the bright moonlight. It is associated with the East Asian philosophical ideal of finding a perfect moment of harmonious communication between humans and nature. The act of creation, or composing poetry, through the perfect harmony of time and space has always been humankind’s purest and timeless nature. The above phenomenon describes the coincidental yet perfect accordance of all external matters, individuals’ objective-subjective judgments, and the material-spiritual worlds. Likewise, we hope that the exhibition harnesses the spiritual powers of the wind and moon to intimately move and connect the visitors to the sense of time and space.
The whole exhibition is primarily divided into three zones: Sky 天, Earth 地, and Human 人 in which each zone explores a special essence of Korean aesthetics within the artists’ varying interpretations of their search for beauty. The exhibition space within the 6th floor will be filled with Zone 1: Sky 天 on the right, Zone 2: Earth 地 on the left, while the 7th floor will represent Zone 3: Human 人.
“[Heaven, Earth, Man, and Korean Art]
For over 5,000 years of history, East Asian culture has blossomed on the ideologies of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism. Korea’s 21st-century arts and culture have also paved various creative paths that are simultaneously rooted in those ideologies and innovations.
For example, the Korean language ‘Hangeul’ has strong roots in the ideology of Samjae; the tri-conceptual understanding of Heaven-Earth-Man, emphasized by the Confucian scriptures of 『Yi Jing』 and 『Zong Yong 』. The core idea of this concept is that humankind came into this world through Heaven and Earth and is destined to live in harmony with mother nature. The concept of Heaven-Earth-Man is also derived from the Eastern principle regarding time, space, and man.
By dividing this exhibition into three zones of Sky 天, Earth 地, Human 人, we hope that viewers can sense a strong harmony and wholeness in the interrelation of the works.”
— Rachel Eunju Lee <Curatorial Statement for Ode to the Moon >
Sky : 天
Kim Duck-Yong (b. 1961) was born in Korea and received his B.F.A. and M.F.A. from the Department of Painting at Seoul National University in Korea. By integrating both traditional and contemporary practices in his work of art, he, on one hand, follows the tradition of oriental paintings by using ancient wood as his canvas, which allows the viewer to sense the warmth of nature through minor details. On the other hand, by highlighting the importance of traditional materials and painting key iconographies that echo with his heritage, Kim primarily explores the contemporary mechanics of Korean society. In other words, Kim’s paintings reveal the change of time with its attribute of intergenerational transience that overarches old and new histories. With works placed in important institutional collections in South Korea such as the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul Museum of Art, Park Soo-Keun Museum, and Gyeonggi Museum of Art, Kim has been recognized as one of the established artists among the Korean art scene.
Kim Young-Hun (b. 1964) was born in Nonsan, Korea. He is currently based in New York City and Seoul. Kim received his B.F.A. in painting from Hongik University. Continuing his studies, he soon enrolled at Chelsea College of Art and Design, and Goldsmiths College in London, and holds two M.F.A.s. Living through the transition between the analog generation and digital generation, Kim Young-Hun is passionate in observing and deciphering the unknown between the 1 and 0 of binary codes. Kim’s works demonstrate a traditional Korean painting technique called Hyukpil (革筆畫), in which the painter mixes various colors and paints with rapid strokes using a leather brush. The multi-colored stripes that seem to flow like ink are made by one continuous brush stroke across the canvas, with the oil colors melting together and permeating into the canvas. Kim has exhibited extensively internationally with over 10 solo and 60 group exhibitions. His paintings are in several prestigious public and corporate collections, including Bank of America, and The Arts Club, and in numerous museums.
Lee Gee-Jo (b. 1959) was born in Jeju, Korea. After graduating from Seoul National University with a B.A. and an M.A. in pottery, he currently works as a professor at Chung-Ang University’s College of Arts and Crafts. He has been working on the production and study of white porcelain for many years, starting with the Korean Craft Special Exhibition in 1987. He has exhibited his works through various solo exhibitions in Korea and abroad, including the solo exhibition “Modern Transformation of Korean White Porcelain”, MAISON & OBJETS in Paris, France and the Philadelphia Craft Festival. He has also participated in leading exhibitions such as the World Ceramic Biennale held in Incheon, the Craft Trend Fair Exhibition (Korea Craft Promotion Foundation), Korean Crafts 2014 in Milan, Italy, etc.
Earth : 地
Kim Keun-Tai (b. 1953) was born in Seoul, Korea and he graduated from Chung-Ang University in Seoul. Kim had his first solo exhibition in 1988, and he has since had works exhibited both at home and overseas: Germany, Japan, Vietnam, Hong Kong and the US. While he is often associated with the Dansaekhwa (單色畫) movement, through deep philosophical and aesthetic research he has always sought to go beyond the conceptual limits. At a time when his contemporaries were primarily preoccupied with making figuration known as hyper-realism, the young artists’ attempt to reverse the older generation’s abstract art: Kim showed more of an affinity towards Dansaekhwa (單色畫). Kim’s work has been presented in galleries and museums including Korea’s Chosun Ilbo Art Museum, Germany’s Galerie Konrad Munter and Hong Kong’s Whitestone Gallery. His works are collected by Sungkok Art Museum, PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Games and KEB Hana Bank.
Kim Sun-Doo (b. 1958) was born in Jangheung, Korea. Kim graduated from Chung-Ang University with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Korean painting. He currently serves as a professor in the department of Korean Art at Chung-Ang University. Kim utilizes a traditional Korean painting technique which maximizes the viewpoint of the landscape to represent the harmony of humans and nature all in one perspective. While his works share an affinity to traditional ink paintings with dozens of ink layers on Korean rice paper called Jangji, they are also imbued with contemporary wit and satire by representing recognizable modern objects within nature through the bright contrasts of colors. Kim Sun-Doo has won many artist awards throughout his career, including ‘The 3rd Bu-il Art Awards’ in 2003 and ‘The 12th Seok-nam Art Awards’ in 1993. He has also participated in nationally and internationally acclaimed exhibitions that promote the beauty and philosophy of Korean paintings, including the ‘2020 Yeosu International Art Exhibition’, ‘Yeosu 2021 Look at the Water with Your Back Against the Mountain’, and ‘Jeonnam Museum of Art Opening’ in Gwangyang.
Lee Kang-Hyo (b. 1961) was born in Korea and has spent more than 30 years endeavoring to interpret the Korean Buncheong in his own way. During the 1970s and 1980s, many novice ceramicists looked to the past to modernize Korean ceramics. Lee was no exception. At the time, Korea was in the process of reinterpreting its cultural assets, including ceramics. As Lee gradually mastered the skill of applying liquefied white clay to the surface of vessels and large platters, he learned to treat ceramic surfaces like paper for ink brush painting. The marks he creates are comparable to landscapes depicting Korea’s four distinct seasons. For centuries, landscapes were explored before they were painted. Their memory was brought back to the artist’s studio and then captured on paper. Lee follows this practice. For Koreans, landscapes are spaces to be encountered and experienced rather than subjects to be observed for replication. Lee is internationally renowned. Recently he has conducted clay performances involving the making of large storage jars followed by splashing with liquefied clay mixtures. Lee Kang-Hyo’s work can be found in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Sèvres – Cité de la céramique; Gyeonggi Ceramic Museum, Korea and more.
Human : 人
Huh Sang-Wook (b. 1970) was born in Korea and is a ceramic artist based in Seoul. He mainly practises Korean traditional pottery technique called Buncheong and uses sgraffito technique to create contemporary ceramics. The method of including surface design and applying the Buncheong technique is the most important aspect of his work. Buncheong refers to dark stoneware covered with white slip and a clear glaze. The distinctive style of Huh’s Buncheong has been favored by ceramic amateurs both domestically and internationally. Huh’s work has been presented in numerous exhibitions and biennales including World Ceramic Biennale Korea and Cheongju Craft Biennale and is housed by Victoria & Albert Museum, Crafts Museum, Musée Ariana, Gyeonggi Ceramic Museum among others.
Yeom-jang Jo Dae-Yong (b. 1950) was born in Tongyeong, Korea. The prefix ‘Yeomjang’ refers to a term for craftsmen who make bamboo blinds, a traditional Korean furniture. During every changing season from December to January, artisans in Korea, specifically in the Jinju and Sancheong regions, select enough bamboo ingredients to sustain their craft-making practice for one year. Once the bamboo is cut into appropriate sizes, it is then split into four, peeled, and its inner flesh is swept clean with a knife. To turn the bamboo into an ivory cream color, it is kept in a moist environment before going through a two-month-long drying process in the sun. Once dried, the bamboo is divided into thin strands and stored for a year. Lastly, for this carefully prepared bamboo to complete its cycle of becoming a bamboo blind, the artisan weaves the bamboo strands together with silk threads. Apart from the preparation of the 1,800 to 2,000 bamboo strands, just creating one 180cm-long blind alone takes about three months of the artisan’s dedication. To this day, Yeomjang Jo Dae-Yong has been active and committed to his crafts-making practice. In 1995, he won the 20th Presidential Award of the Korea Annual Handcraft Competition and the Minister of Government Administration award and others in 2003. He has served as a chairman of the Tongyeong Intangible Cultural Heritage Conservation Association since 2010.
Soban-jang (craftsman of Soban) Kim Chun-Sik (b. 1945) was born in Naju, Korea. Designated as the ‘National Important Intangible Cultural Property No. 99’, Kim is an established craftsman who has been making Soban, a traditional Korean floor table, for over 60 years. Depending on the region of production, Soban can have distinctly different characteristics. Kim’s specialty is Najuban, a type of Soban that’s mainly produced from ginkgo and zelkova trees acquired in Naju, a region in Korea well-known for having densely populated quality trees. Making the Najuban table takes approximately 60 days which involves a 10-step-process. The last step requires painting 7 – 8 layers of lacquer for a solid finishing of the wooden surface and structure. Najuban retains a plain but a natural and sturdy elegance made of lacquered wood with a clearly defined grain pattern. Kim Chun-Sik, the master craftsman of Soban, has participated in the ‘2021 Naju Art Association Exhibition’ and ‘2005 Gwangju Design Biennale Special Exhibition No. 3, Gwangju Design’. He has been actively serving as Chairman of the ‘2011 Jeollanam-do Intangible Cultural Heritage Function Preservation Association’. Currently, he is transferring his skills and technology to his son, Kim Young-Min.
Kim Woo-Young (b. 1960) was born in Busan, Korea, and received his B.A. and M.F.A. in Urban Design and Industrial Design from Hongik University. Continuing his studies he soon enrolled at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and received his B.F.A. and M.F.A. in photography. Not only is he a mature photographer, but also a trained architect, city planner, and pioneer in revolutionizing the style of photography in Korea. His years in New York gave him the opportunity to experiment with different techniques and mediums in photography. His images of nature taken in the rain resulted in an illusion of deeper dimension, using other methods such as formation in collage or painting with the composition of charcoal and lacquer on photographic paper. One major modification was presenting images of nature in an abstract form onto an acrylic panel through silk-screen printing. Kim’s works have been presented in art centers, museums, and galleries including VOLTA in New York, Gallery Simon, and COEX in Korea. His works are also collected by organizations such as the Seoul Museum of Art, Leeum Samsung Foundation, and HANA Bank.
Kim Yik-Yung (b.1935) is one of Korea’s most well-respected ceramic artists and a pioneer in the ceramic arts. Kim studied at Seoul National University and the College of Ceramics at Alfred University in New York State. While in New York, she had the opportunity to meet Bernard Leach when he taught a seminar at the university, and she was profoundly influenced by his teaching. She is currently Professor Emerita at Kookmin University, Seoul. Kim’s works bring Korea’s ceramic heritage into the modern world, bridging the gap between aesthetic beauty and general practicality. Her ceramics are influenced by Joseon baekja (white porcelain), which are prized for their simplicity and naturalness. They are made with the ancient throwing technique that offers flexibility and efficiency, allowing Kim to produce works without artificial traits and that remain true to the material. Kim employs faceting to reveal the dynamic characteristics of the clay: softness and sharpness, warmth and coolness, time and rhythm. Her work has been included in numerous public collections, including the National Gallery of Contemporary Arts, South Korea; the British Museum, UK; National Museums of Scotland, UK; the Victoria and Albert Museum, UK; the Smithsonian Institution, USA; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, USA.
Ceramist Park Sung-Wook (b. 1972 in Seoul, Korea) graduated from the Department of Ceramics at the Graduate School after graduating from the Department of Crafts and Art at Kookmin University. Having pursued his long research in developing traditional Korean Buncheong techniques, Park harmoniously infuses modern aesthetics into his ceramics by combining rough soil and soft cremated clay through spinning wheel molding and the dirt technique called Taeto. His most recent work series, ‘Fragment,’ is inspired by fragments of old artifacts which combine numerous small pieces to complete a ceramic object. Park Sung-Wook has participated in many solo and group exhibitions, including his 12th solo exhibition ‘Park Sung-Wook 無影塔月光,’ with Gallery ren_i, Japan, and ‘2015 Korean Crafts BeopGoChangSin (Constancy & Change)’, in Milan, Italy. He is still actively working to promote the beauty of Buncheong to a worldwide audience.
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About Soluna Art Group
Founded in 2017 by Rachel Eunju Lee, Soluna Art Group is an organization that nurtures and supports Asian contemporary art and objects with deep roots in South Korea. The Group consists of two distinct directions – Soluna Fine Art and Soluna Living.
Soluna Fine Art is the pioneering purveyor of Asian Fine Art in Hong Kong, specialising in Asian contemporary paintings, objects, works on paper and fine art photographs. The gallery programme of Soluna Fine Art is infused with the philosophy of traditional Asian art and seeks to convey its meticulous craftsmanship under a fresh light. Art from the East has historically incorporated a wide variety of cultural influences and the vision at Soluna Fine Art is to play a role in this continuum of cross-cultural encounters.
Soluna Living Nurtures and supports the best in Korean craftsmanship. In addition to selling curated collections of unique, highly-crafted products for interior spaces, Soluna Living is trusted resources for consumers who know that quality design can enhance the quality of life.
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Gallery: Whitestone Gallery
Opening / Event Date: 3 May, 2022
Closing / End Date: 30 Jun, 2022