Many artworks appear red. Can you please explain about the
Simply put, the Jinsa method creates color with bronze because it appears red when reduced and green when oxidized. It has been handed down since the Goryeo Dynasty, but it has rarely been used as it is only used to create red fruits. Because it is difficult to create an aesthetically beautiful color, it seems that it was not popular in Mainland China, either. I never heard of or learned about it back when we were in school.
How did you come to focus on this Jinsa method?
I found out that some people were taking advantage of the Jinsa method in Japan and wanted to try it to create my own color. Before that I mostly worked with installations of objects, but I learned about Jinsa when I returned to porcelain. Jinsa does not define all of my work, but it is a method I actively use.
I believe that you faced many difficulties in creating pieces until
you actually applied the method.
It actually takes a considerable amount of time and effort to learn a craft technique and apply it satisfactorily. Porcelain work is particularly difficult because of the process in the kiln, which is beyond the reach of artists. The outcome is determined by the environmental factors that are almost impossible to predict or control such as the pressure or the flow of oxygen in the kiln even when you apply the same data. The porcelain artist can only rely on fate with only a 10% to 20% success rate. You may come across quality outcomes very rarely, but such an unintended success yields no pleasure at all.
You held a solo show focused on ‘air’ and apples’ last year.
What was its message?
My latest work has two major flows. A vessel is created to contain something. Even when I mold clay to create a vessel, however, air is what fills it before an object occupies a vessel. The vessel creates an empty space filled with air anytime when the object is removed. This idea is expressed by my <Kettle> series.
An artist’s work often has a flow by era. How do you think
your flow has changed?
There must have been natural changes and intended changes. I have concentrated on creative work away from exhibitions this year because I want some change myself. Well, this must be a natural change for me. I have created polygonal mugs since a decade ago and I find that they have changed a lot although they might appear similar to others. I cannot explain everything in words, but there is a greater depth, so to speak.
Personally, I loved the shape of the rectangular kettle and
the contrast of colors created by edges that looked somewhat
There were rectangular or hexagonal shapes created by using wooden molds back in the Joseon Dynasty, but I use knives to carve the inside and outside of lumps instead. It is difficult to make the thickness consistent, but I focus on the ratio and proportion of planes as I carve. In fact, my major concern is this process rather than the colors of Jinsa. The edges of polygons appear so because the white clay is revealed as the lacquer slides down.
I heard that you participate in local flea markets.
I learned about the flea markets while I was honestly skeptical about the existing way of selling everyday porcelain through art shops. I have joined artists living nearby in participating in flea markets since 2015. Casually meeting with people at the monthly markets is a little thing, but it is a great source of energy. Before I did nothing more than make vessels in the sizes that I wanted, but now I know the sizes that consumers want. They sometimes ask me to make certain shapes of vessels.
You should continue to work for a long time. What are your
I want to create good vessels. I am calling them vessels instead of artworks because I believe that I still have a long way to go. I am going to put on a show soon and I would probably exhibit my <Apple> series. People suggest I should increase the size of my work or try gold for a change, but I am planning to focus on more detailed processes because I don’t want to lose power by losing the original shape of porcelain. I am determined to make some kind of change, but I am planning to pursue a change within a frame that is comprehensible to me. I do have a dream if I look farther into the future. I sometimes meet artists who are in their prime even though they are already old. I want to live a life where I don’t consume my talent at an early age.