2020.12.1 – 2021.1.15
Jung Choon Mo, Kim Deok Ho
YÉOL Artisan of the Year, Jung Choon Mo
YÉOL Young Craftsman of the Year, Kim Deok Ho
LINES: The Aesthetics of Composition and Motion
Throughout the years, the gat has endured as an item of traditional male formal attire symbolizing the dignity and decorum of the classical scholar, as well as headgear for blocking the sun. Made mainly of horsehair and bamboo, its designs varied according to the purpose at hand. The gat most familiar to Korean audiences is the black heukrip, finished in ink and lacquer. The refined form of the traditional gat exhibits a beautiful proportionality, while the forthright lines of the daewoo (crown) and the gentle curves of the yangtae (brim) evoke a sense of upright and elegant nobility. Accessories such as okro (jade ornament in the shape of a white heron, worn atop the gat by high-ranking officials or ambassadors), pungjam (forehead ornament fixing the gat in place), and gat strings draw visual interest while highlighting the graceful style of gat.
YÉOL’s 2020 Artisan of the Year, Jung Choon Mo, is a certified National Intangible Cultural Heritage No. 4 Ganniljang (gat maker) who has devoted himself over the past half-century to the task of keeping our traditions alive. Handling every step in the process of gannil (gat making) with the utmost precision and delicacy it requires, he dedicates long hours to pouring his intense focus and exceptional manual skill into the creation of the craftwork-as-artwork known as gat. Artisan Jung is ever accompanied in his life’s work by his wife, Gannil Graduate Do Gook Hee, with whom he collaborates in the process of yangtae construction. These two artisans both persevere in their mission to uphold tradition, engraving the beauty and intricacy of gat deeply in their lives.
In collaboration with these artisans, designers Cho Kyu Hyung and Choi Jung You of Studio Word propose lighting fixtures marrying the traditional gat with modern practicality and aesthetics, usable in everyday spaces. Countless bamboo fibers woven by the artisans’ deft hands reveal the minute, exquisite structure of the grain and, met with the radiance of the lighting, imbue the surrounding space with tradition and modern sensibility. Experiencing the value and timelessness of our crafts through lines of such meticulously detailed caliber as to display the long years of experience possessed by these two artisans, we look forward to an age marked by the new utilization of old tradition.
LAYERS: The Accumulation of Matter and Time
YÉOL’s 2020 Young Craftsman of the Year, ceramic craftsman Kim Deok Ho, builds upon the aesthetics of Joseon Dynasty baekja (white porcelain) in the creation of modern ceramic works. Studying the properties of baekto (white clay) at the Yanggu Baekja Research Institute located in Yanggu, the birthplace of Joseon baekja, he has acquired through his encounters with countless relics of past ages the distinct aesthetic of Joseon baekja. These experiences, incorporated into Craftsman Kim’s unique language of form, are embodied in the modern baekja, which harbors graceful lines within its streamlined, refined shapes.
The main techniques used in the externalization of the artist’s vision are those of wheel-throwing and yeonli—both ancient, traditional, and universal ceramic techniques. The two techniques join to carve the process of its creation upon the work’s surface, revealing the path of hands and clay in their entirety. Paring away at the precise strata of clay piled on itself uncovers the abstract layers of yeonlimun, those traces of time in superposition. The patterns that emerge through the process of endless repetition fall into harmony with the minimalist form of baekja, expressing the artist’s individuality of artistic identity.
Baekja were precious, lovely objects used in the everyday lives of our ancestors, and so Joseon era baekja hold innumerable stories within. Settled in Yanggu where the history and culture of Joseon Dynasty baekja live and breathe still, Craftsman Kim Deok Ho spends long hours before the wheel each day in contemplation of the harmony of aesthetic and functionality present in baekja. Reflecting on the distinctiveness of our spirit and beauty, he collects hours of quiet repetition in the pursuit of his art.
Presented by YÉOL
Sponsored by Van Cleef & Arpels
From 2020, December 1(Tuesday) 11am to 2021 January 15 (Friday) 5pm
Opening Hours: 11am to 5pm (Closed on Sunday, Monday and Holiday)
Due to COVID-19, exhibition viewing is only available by advance reservation.
50-1, Bukchon-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea
+82 2 735 5878