E. Park

Meekyoung Shin |1

Jae Pil Eun

Yun Choi

Crystaline glazes are a pinnacle of craftmanship, a delicate cultivation of chemical elements, and yet they appear on the surface of ceramics as something organic, a natural beauty beyond art. For three months, Yun Choi immersed herself in the alchemy of zinc mixed with alkalic glazes, trying to grasp how and why the crystals grow – or fail to do so. She experimented with firing curves, soaking, rapid cooling, re-heating, with manganese, copper, cobalt, nickel and iron oxide for different colours. The resulting tests are precious objects in themselves. Cuts in the clay to promote crystal growth resemble lines in the palm of a hand. This connects to the remote controls Choi made to ‘activate’ the larger flat screens that reflect her research or mirror their surroundings like dormant LCDs. As a side project, she turned shavings from the thin clay slabs into marine-life objects with glorious celadon reduction glazes.

Seok-Hyeon Yoon

Ottokaji Iroke

Looking at Ottokaji Iroke’s work, you might come to the conclusion that misunderstanding is the default human relation. A ceramic towel reads ‘I said tower’ and a series of mugs deformed beyond recognition is called ‘I said mug, not mud’. Daily watercolours on pee pads continue in the same vein and a video shot in his EKWC bedroom is a rhythmical riff on the distinction between Hamburg and hamburger. For all its humour, Ottokaji Iroke’s play with words, images, sounds and signs often points to an underlying reality of societal tensions. A ceramic Identity Politics Bible is called ‘Ho Lee Fuk’. Trivial observations like the different shapes of croissants in the Oisterwijk supermarkets lead to gold-lustred sculptures referring Nike and the Venus of Willendorf to address thorny questions of food, fitness, success and body image. A word of caution is in order: only the holder of a Universal Passport to the United States of Pizza may safely travel this carefully constructed field of associative meaning.

Yujin Joung (DAE)

South Korea’s younger generations are struggling with impossible demands from society, that severely impact their well-being. Designer Yujin Joung investigated this obsession with perfection within her own family, tracing it to her grandmother’s trauma from Japanese colonial rule. She passed a desire for safety on to Joung’s mother, who grew up in poverty and stressed the importance of success for her daughter to obtain security. At EKWC, Joung press-moulded two enormous vessels based on Korean moon jars, praised for their ‘beautiful imperfections’. The fragile porcelain walls of the jars cracked when she opened the moulds, and each time she tried to mend them, they still continued to fissure and break under their own weight. To Joung, this is symbolic of life’s uncertainties and imperfections: there will always be cracks, no matter how hard you strive. Might as well accept them, and move on.

Junghun Kim

Pollution and destruction, capitalist exploitation and mindless consumption lead to degradation of the natural world, inevitably leaving traces in the human soul as well. In the exhibition Breathe a Mending Song into These Earthly Wounds, artist Junghun Kim summons up the Spirit of Geology to chant the woes of the world from a non-human perspective. Using the vocal technique of traditional Korean pansori, the Spirit emphatically pleads with humans to acknowledge the interconnectedness of everything in nature. The exhibition includes two large sculptures Kim made at EKWC. One incorporates multitudes of species in their future co-evolution, while the other invites the audience to contemplate recorded sounds of the five agents of Wuxing philosophy – wood, fire, earth, metal, water – that constantly interact in cycles of destruction and generation.

Inup Park |2

The works that Korean artist Inup Park made at EKWC are closely related to richness. One piece is basically a block with openings for the artist’s hands and feet, forcing him into an uncomfortable position. Symbols on the surface represent the five Taoist elements – earth, water, metal, wood, fire – that generate and constrain each other. Park made it after a fortune teller predicted he would become rich at 44, suggesting five more years of poverty. Another piece relates to a tarot card reading that said Park would be a bad person if he got rich. It shows several bodies compressed under the weight of the artist, who pictures himself reclining on them. A lavender-grey celadon suggests the colour of cadaverous skin. As test tiles, Park made small figures referencing Korea’s national treasure, and a set of containers for ordinary, cheap instruments of personal hygiene. They look incredibly precious.

Inup Park |1

Inup Park (KR) translates life experiences and feelings of discomfort in his work, such as loneliness, anxiety, and depression. In his “gum” series, Park explores the theme of physical and mental tension;

“Humans walk every day from about a year after birth. Walking is so natural but when you are extreme­ly nervous, surprisingly, even walking becomes unnatural. The first thing you learn in the military is the ceremonial training of walking, turning sideways, and turning backwards. Extreme ten­sion makes the arms and legs on the same side move at the same time, making you look like a fool. I chew gum when I get nervous. Gum expresses tension. Sticky gum sticks to the arms and legs, creating an unnatural walk.”