I wish the lunch break had been longer at today’s Korean film conference at SOAS. I was planning on having a quick snack at Mr Mok’s Bibimbap Cafe in Museum Street, maybe say a brief hello to my friends at It’s All Greek a few doors away, and then look in at the British Museum’s Korea Foundation gallery to see what’s new. But as I wandered down Great Russell Street got distracted by a contemporary ceramics gallery.

And I got rather too absorbed looking at the lovely works on show. Two British potters who have exhibited at the KCC – Jack Doherty and Adam Buick – and three Korean potters…

Lee Hajeong:

Lee Hajeong

Kim Hyejeong:

Kim Hyejeong

and Kim Jin Eui:

Kim Jin Eui

I was just about to leave when I saw some issues of Ceramic Review. The March/April copy particularly caught my eye, a with a large buncheong vessel on its cover promising a feature on Lee Kanghyo who exhibited at Tent London last year. Also in this issue was an article by Roger Law on his own ceramic journey.

Ceramic Review

UK readers will know of Roger Law as one half of the Spitting Image team. But since moving on from Spitting Image his work in ceramics has blossomed, and he makes many of his giant pots in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, the ceramics capital of China. Somehow he ended up doing a quirky travel series on China for BBC Radio 4. And from there he was commissioned to do a follow-up series on Korea, which will be airing in December this year. LKL spent about an hour in a recording studio with him, so some of that interview could end up being broadcast. At least I know that I was responsible for getting him to visit my friend Baek Un-chol, director of Jeju Stone Park, where he also met with Darren Southcott, the editor of the Jeju Weekly.

So my snack at Bibimbap Cafe was not brief because I was absorbed in reading my Ceramic Review, and I got to neither It’s All Greek nor the British Museum, and only just made it back in time for the start of the afternoon session at SOAS.

Kim Hong-joon at SOAS

I won’t be writing up the main part of the conference, but I hope I shall find the time to write up the evening session: a totally spellbinding one-man chat-show performance from Professor Kim Hong-joon giving us fascinating anecdotes of his personal encounters with three of the all-time greats: Kim Ki-young, Shin Sang-ok and Yu Hyun-mok. In that one hour in the presence of the self-effacing and self-professed younger generation “living fossil” I took more notes than I had the whole day prior to that. It was awesome, and I’m not sure I’ve used that word on this site before.

And now I’m suffering because I made the mistake of asking for my Ojingeo Deopbap to be made spicy. The chef at my local Korean, Yoshi Sushi, duly accepted the challenge, and quite right too. Aigoo. The manager was at the KCC at the time, supervising the delivery of anju for the somaek late-night lock-in with Director Jang Kun-jae, whose Midsummer’s Fantasia was screening earlier this evening. If I didn’t have to go to work tomorrow, I’d be at the KCC now, and turn up at day two of the conference late and hung over.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Duffy November 6, 2015 at 1:48 am

All very interesting. Lucky I didn’t stick to my usual practice of ignoring any post that has “awesome” in the title (“^^”, as Koreans say). I had the good luck to see Kim Ki-young at the 1998 Pusan Film Festival.

Joo-ja Curley November 6, 2015 at 6:59 am

Thank you for sharing this. I wish I lived in London to enjoy all the Korean arts and crafts. I was never interested in ceramics but recently fell in love with it. So thank you again.

Philip Gowman November 6, 2015 at 8:01 am

Yup, I’ve done a quick word search and that was the first time I personally have used that word ^^

Philip Gowman November 6, 2015 at 8:04 am

Thanks for the feedback both of you. As I was writing this post (on the iPad at the restaurant as I was trying to force down my nuclear-spicy ojingeo deopbap) I was thinking it was a rather incoherent piece…

Do pay the ceramics shop a visit when you are next in the area.

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