10 Korean Sculpture Artists To Watch
With the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics just a month away, people around the world are looking forward to one of the biggest sporting events of the year. But for those who plan to visit Korea and attend the event personally, organisers have prepared a variety of events to promote the country's traditions, culture and growing contemporary art scene.
To give you a head start, we've listed 10 Korean sculptors who have been making headlines in the art world:
Yoo Young-ho is an artist whose works are on show in Seoul’s public spaces regularly. His “Greetingman Project” features a tall man bowing to greet the viewer as a symbol of friendship, dialogue and world peace. His works have been installed at the DMZ, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and have even been featured in Marvel's Avengers franchise.
It was at the 2006 Shanghai Biennale when U-Ram Choe’s kinetic art first garnered international attention. In his moving sculptures, he uses fine mechanics and dimmed lighting to instil the feeling of an unusual presence. Often referred to as “the engineer-artist”, he combines science and art to challenge established perceptions about sculpture.
Kim Yong Won
Kim Yong Won's sculptures can be seen all over the city including at top tourist destinations like Dongdaemun History and Culture Park. His “Shadow of a Shadow” sculpture depicts a naked female body with parts missing or dissected, representing an absence or void and suggesting that "even when a person is missing his or her presence still lingers."
Lee Yunhee’s ceramic sculptures bridge two very different domains: those of Buddhist ritual painting and Medieval European literature. Lee cites Dante’s “Divine Comedy” as the key inspiration to her work. Her sculptures often feature a few plates each of which depicts a scene of a narrative written by the artist.
Choi Jeong Hwa
Choi Jeong Hwa ensembles colourful everyday objects into kitschy and messy sculptures. His pop-art works aim to embody the abundance of mass production and the untidy nature of consumerism. His “Moving Flower” piece uses consumer goods like plastic to address deeply philosophical Buddhist themes, reflecting the blurred line between high and low culture that has come to represent the 21st century.
Osang Gwon uses magazine cut-outs or pixelated photos from the internet which he glues to human statues made of plastic to explore the idea of sculpture as objects that look real but are not. He gets inspiration from mystery novels, astrology, folk legends, the philosophy of yin-yang and the five elements. His famous series “Deodorant type” and “The Sculpture” have been exhibited in Europe and China.
Yee Sookyung’s body of work ranges from sculpture to installation, video, painting, drawing and performance. Through her sculptures made of broken and reassembled porcelain remnants, she aims to recreate Eastern legends and folk characters. For her, the medium of choice and the subject of her works represent the healing powers of tradition and art.
Kang Junyoung employs sculpture for the purpose of forming a kind of self-portrait. He aims to write his personal autobiography not by means of text or painting but through plastic art. In recent years, he has been collaborating with various fashion magazines and expanding his practice in Europe.
Kim Kyong Min
Kim Kyong Min is another artist whose sculptures are an intrinsic part of Seoul’s cityscape. By showing her distinctive characters performing their daily activities, Kim invites the viewer to celebrate the desire to be happy. The contagious cheerfulness of her works has spread to Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and Japan where her works have been installed in public places.
Park Jin Sung
The message of Park Jin Sung’s famous”AJUSSI” series is contrary or maybe complementary to Kim Kyong Min’s “Wonderful Day”. If “Wonderful Day” looks for joy in routine, “AJUSSI” suggests acceptance of life’s ups and downs. Rather than looking for the positive in everything, Park’s sometimes-sad-sometimes-happy character finds peace in the reconciliation with the cyclic order of life events.
This story originally appeared on The Artling.