Unconventional Ceramic Exhibition by Migrant Artists at ACC

“Immigration of Ceramics,” the ACC’s first exhibition of ceramic art to be held from April 18 to July 28

Examining contemporary ceramic art from immigrants’ perspectives

Three of the participating artists created some of their works at Chosun University in Gwangju

GWANGJU--(Korea Newswire)--The National Asian Culture Center (ACC / President Lee Kang-hyun) of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism held “Immigration of Ceramics,” an exhibition on contemporary ceramic art, at ACC Creation Space 6 from April 18 to July 28, 2024.

As the first ceramic exhibition of the ACC, which has mainly showcased installation and media art exhibitions, “Immigration of Ceramics” offers a new interpretation of the development of ceramics that migrated from Asia through the lens of contemporary art. Organized as part of ACC’s “Asia Network” project, which aims to invigorate various discourses on the theme of Asia, the exhibition sheds light on contemporary ceramics actively developed outside of the region through artists with immigration experiences.

The exhibition features four artists, including “Steven Young Lee (Korean-American),” “Linda Nguyen Lopez (Vietnamese / Mexican-American),” “Se Oh (Korean-American),” and “Amy Lee Sanford (Cambodian-American).” These artists tell their narratives through ceramics in the context of cultural conflicts and identity exploration derived from their experiences as second-generation immigrants or adoptees. The exhibition offers a new perspective on contemporary ceramics based on the history of humanity and the phenomenon of immigration rather than approaching ceramics as an art form.

In particular, Steven Young Lee, Linda Nguyen Lopez, and Se Oh are gaining more attention as they traveled from the United States to Chosun University in Gwangju, Korea, to produce some of their works for this exhibition.

Steven Young Lee is a second-generation Korean-American ceramist who served as the Art Director at the Archie Bray Foundation, a prominent ceramic art institution in the United States, for 16 years. By deforming his works, Lee challenges traditional customs that prioritize the perfect balance of ceramics using various patterns from different cultures based on forms of traditional Korean ceramics. At this exhibition, he presents seven commission works, including three made in Gwangju and four produced in the United States.

“My works in this exhibition are part of the ‘Deconstructed’ series and are based on traditional Korean bowls,” Lee said. “I am ecstatic to present these works I made in Korea using Korean glaze.”

Linda Nguyen Lopez has been creating ceramic sculptures that anthropomorphize objects in daily life, such as mops and dusters, focusing on small items around her based on the linguistic difficulties she experienced growing up in an immigrant family. Six commission works are showcased, including three from the “Furry” series created in Gwangju and three chair-shaped ceramic sculptures visitors can sit on.

Lopez said, “I am delighted to be in Gwangju and to be able to create the ‘Furry’ series at Chosun University.” She added, “My works abstractly depict objects we can see daily.”

Se Oh mainly adopts motifs from natural forms and uses glaze for Goryeo celadon as material for his works to embody his identity in ceramics. Including the new work “Garden,” many of Se Oh’s crafts are inspired by plants in Gwangju, using Korean soil.

“The theme is ‘Porcelain Garden,’ and I used flowers from California and endemic ones in Korea to create my works,” Oh mentioned. “Creating these with Korean clay was difficult, but I look forward to seeing how my works, made with soil from my birthplace, will be perceived by audiences.”

Amy Lee Sanford is an artist who shows the impact society can have on individuals through ceramics. She seeks to heal the historical scars of Cambodia by breaking pottery and establishing connections. The exhibition features the artist’s performance videos and ceramic works.

“Significantly, renowned ceramic artists around the world visit Korea, the home of ceramics, to experience Korean clay and create ceramics using this,” ACC President Lee Kang-hyun noted. “I hope that ‘Immigration of Ceramics’ offers opportunities for visitors to understand immigrant artists and broaden their experience of contemporary ceramics.”

About The National Asian Culture Center

The National Asian Culture Center (ACC) is an international art institution and cultural exchange institution that produces future-oriented new results by combining Asian past-present culture and arts and innovative ideas and beliefs as “the window of Asian culture for the world.” Starting from the background of artistically sublimating the meaning of human rights and peace of the May 18 Democratization Movement, ACC, which opened in November 2015, is an agency under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, which was established to promote mutual understanding through exchanges, education and research on Asian culture and to grow together with Asian countries. ACC serves as an integrated platform where participants from all over the world, including Asia, can freely harmonize and share ideas across boundaries in carrying out the stages of Research, Creation, and Production. ACC is a result produced using collected research materials and resources and conducts various programs (exhibitions, performances, education, festivals, and other events) throughout the year.

Website: http://www.acc.go.kr


The National Asian Culture Center
Jo Eun-young
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