Advertisement

Two Korean Artists Make Fragments into Art

Artsy Editorial
Mar 4, 2015 1:57PM

At The Armory Show this week, Tina Kim Gallery and Kukje Gallery present a dynamic pairing of female Seoul-based artists who cross-examine an increasingly globalized world through a focus on traditional materials. In their reworking of processes domestically inclined and historically charged, Yeesooksung and Kyungah Ham piece together the fractured politics of our time, finding grace and formal beauty in complicated subjects. 

Translated Vase, 2013
Tina Kim Gallery
Translated Vase, 2014
Tina Kim Gallery
Translated Vase, 2008
Tina Kim Gallery

The presentation will display selections from Yeesooksung’s Translated Vase series, which includes some of her best-known work. The artist, who works in a variety of media including video and drawing, has referred to these curvaceous, uncanny sculptures as “stuttering discards from standard conventional masterpieces.” To make these delicate Frankensteins, Yeesooksung acquires the broken cast-offs from a ceramic master; usually, up to 70 percent of ceramics are broken by artists when, emerging from the kiln, they do not conform to their standards of excellence. She then reconfigures the fragments into sculptures both small and towering, and coats the seams with gold, creating a delicate and obvious seam between the cast-off ceramics. In addition to these sculptures are works from the artist’s “Flame Variations” series, intricate, colorful, and, at times sinister works on silk. Yeesooksung creates the image exclusively on her knees, a position that she has likened to prayer.

Abstract Weave / Morris Louis Theta 1961, 2014
Tina Kim Gallery
Flame variation 1-4, 2012
Tina Kim Gallery
Flame 4 s, 2013
Tina Kim Gallery
Advertisement

Kyungah Ham’s recent work focuses on the alienation of North Korea from South Korea, and since 2008, has favored textiles to explore this relationship. Resembling the color-stain paintings of Morris Louis and embedded with significance, the works on display are from her “Abstract Weave” series and could be considered as much performance art as a physical work. To create the series, Ham transcribed news articles from the internet and hid them in embroidery patterns that she then sent to North Korean textile workers through connections in China. In creating these woven abstractions, the workers deciphered the articles—a small, dangerous, and often futile process in which the artworks were frequently destroyed by North Korean authorities. 

Abstract Weave / Morris Louis X4 1959-60, 2014
Tina Kim Gallery
Abstract Weave / Morris Louis Untitled A, 2014
Tina Kim Gallery
Artsy Editorial
Get the Artsy app
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play
Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019