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Exhibition news: Sacred Art – an international group exhibition at Aberglasney House, Carmarthen

The upper walled garden at Aberglasney House
The upper walled garden at Aberglasney House. Photo: Nigel McCall. Source:

A reason to explore Carmarthenshire over the Mayday bank holiday weekend: curated by May Kim (whom many may remember from her time as curator at Mokspace) and co-curated by Nick Taylor, this exhibition features a number of Korean artists and performers: Bupjeon Sunim | Chae Hee Jung | Chang Sook Lee | Jeon Je-woo | Soon Yul Kang | Sung Young Park | Yong Min Cho | Young Jin Choi. The house and gardens of Aberglasney provide a wonderful setting for a day out.

Sacred Art

Sacred Art poster

OPENING EVENT: Friday 29th April 2016, 6:30 to 9:30 pm

  • Opening night performance from international dancer and choreographer Yong Min Cho
  • Opening night ritual led by celebrant Sophie Bold

EXHIBITION: 29th April – 5th May 2016, Daily 10am to 6pm

VENUE: Aberglasney House and Garden | Llangathen | Carmarthenshire SA32 8QH | [Map]

East meets Welsh as first international contemporary art exhibition at Aberglasney House explores the sacred:

  • Leading Welsh artists featured including Clive Hicks-Jenkins and Sarah Rhys
  • International artists including Sung Young Park, Soon Yul Kang and Ezio Cicciarella
  • Established and emerging artists including Jonathan McCree, Joshua May and Jojo Taylor
  • Street Artists including Joyce Treasure, Carlos Cashiero and founder of Street Art collective Psychodoodlz, Marc Craig
  • Outsider artists including Swci Delic, Johnny and Stucky
  • Shamanic artists including Imelda Almqvist and Ingress Vortices

Sacred Art promises to be exciting, magical and provocative. Not only does it ask the question ‘What is Sacred Now?’ It engages with a multiplicity of living artists from widely different beliefs, backgrounds, cultures and disciplines.

Following the success of recent exhibitions of Aboriginal Australian and Celtic Art at the British Museum and Folk Art at Tate Britain, Sacred Art responds to the growing public hunger for objects, ideas and experiences whose value is not measured by money alone.

This exploration of the Sacred is more intriguing because the concept has been overlooked by recent art trends towards cynicism over belief, nihilism over meaning and shock over meditation. Sacred Art brings together tales from the street and outsider art, such as 18 year old Johnny, who has autism and communicates mostly non-verbally, and Swci Delic, former member of rock band until a brain tumour stopped her music and she was compelled to paint.

The rise in awareness of art from other, non-western cultures has seen people remember and re-engage with ideas of spirit-reality. Such ways of considering the world are both pre-historic and utterly present; influences are as modern as quantum physics, digital technology and genetics and as ancient as goddess culture, shamanism and folklore.

Co-curator and artist Nick Taylor says of the event, “It is an honour to be able to bring together such a talented and diverse group of artists, positively inspired to ask ‘what is Sacred now?’ Transformation, magic, meditation, wit and exuberance are ingredients long celebrated in art. With Sacred Art, they abound”.

Soon Yul Kang: Mother's Pray (2015)
Soon Yul Kang: Mother’s Pray (2015). Pigment print on fine art paper

Exhibiting artists

Alan Williams |Ally Jay Phillips | Billy Moore | Birthe Nissen | Bupjeon Sunim | Carlos Cashiero | Cecilia Rouncefield | Celia Dowson | Chae Hee Jung | Chang Sook Lee | Clive Hicks-Jenkins | Erica Frances George | Ezio Cicciarella | Fiona Sant | Giusi Tomasello | Graham Ward | Imelda Almqvist | Ingress Vortices | INK | Jeon Je-woo | JFM Masson | Jocelyn Chaplin | Johnny | Jojo Taylor | Jonathan McCree | Joshua May | Joyce Treasure | Lawrence Nash | Lu Wray | Marc Craig | Mark Timmins | Miche Follano | Oliver Ashworth-Martin | Peter Hanmer | Philippa Sibert | Sarah Rhys | Soon Yul Kang | Stucky | Sung Young Park | Suzanne Rees Glanister | Svetlana Bogatcheva | Swci Delic | Tina Reid | Vidyakaya | Yong Min Cho | Young Jin Choi | Zara Kuchi (see for biographies)

Selected biographies

Bupjeon Sunim, Being (2016), ramie, pigment, gold

Bupjeon is a Buddhist nun living and working in South Korea. She believes the most sacred thing is not external, but something that can be discovered in yourself: revealed in stillness and calm mind. Even though it cannot be touched and seen, it belongs to anyone. It is only when discovered in our mind that one can define the meaning of ‘sacred’ and also know its true value. Her work explores the principle that if she can realise the true meaning of the word ‘sacred’ and know that it exists in her, then she also knows that it can exist in everyone.

Chae Hee Jung, Black Mirror (2015) lacquer varnish on wood panel with iron frame

Jung Chae Hee earned a BFA in Painting at Seoul National University in 1981. In 1997 she completed a degree in General Mural Scholar Painting (Material) before attaining an MFA in 2001, both at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing. She has won various awards and her art can be seen in collections at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in South Korea, the Incheon Foundation for Arts and Culture, and Samdeok Inc. Inspired by a spiritual sense of the interconnectedness of all things, Chae Hee Jung does not discriminate when it comes to materials for her collages. She has taught at various universities and is currently a lecturer at Seoul National University

Chang Sook Lee, A Moment of Rest (2015), ceramic

Chang Sook Lee believes that she was born to be a potter. Born in Korea’s Gangjin county in Jeolla province in 1963, she grew up surrounded by the county’s celadon potters. Since graduating from Hang Yang Women’s College in Seoul, she has been involved in solo and group exhibitions throughout Korea, Japan, and London in 2014. With a small group of women artists, she has been exhibiting the “1000 Tea Bowls” Exhibition every year (this is its 11th year) at the Tea Museum in Seoul. During Pope Francis’ visit to Korea last year, her Korean Moor Jar was chosen to be in the final lists works for a gift to the Pope.

Jeon Je-woo, Untitled (2007), photographic print

Jeon Je-woo unites his secular profession of photography with his Buddhist beliefs. His photography invokes the ancient and primeval with Buddhist statues placed in natural surroundings. His works are not explicitly religious but invoke an atmosphere of awe, vastness, and the viewer’s own sense of smallness in the face of something much grander. He manages the Korea Institute of Buddhist Photography and worked as the chair of the Korean Society of Buddhist Photography. He is currently a leading member of the Korea Association of Buddhist Photographers. To him, the idea of sacredness or holiness means purity, sincerity, and simple, unconditional devotion.

Soon Yul Kang, Mother’s Pray (2015), pigment print

Soon Yul Kang studied textile art in Korea and Japan and at West Dean College in the UK, completing her MA in Textiles at Goldsmiths College. Her main focus is collages (which she has produced since 1995), hand-woven tapestries, and mixed media works. Her works have been concerned with contemplation, meditation, healing and time. She is inspired by East Asian spiritual ideas of simplicity, stillness, emptiness, repetition, and rebirth. She has been a resident artist in Kew Studio in Richmond since 1998. Her work is on permanent display at West Middlesex University Hospital.

Sung Young Park, The Moment of Clarity (2016), acrylic on canvas

Sung Young Park studied Fine Art first in Korea before completing her Professional Doctorate in Fine Art at the University of East London in 2006. In her practice she has been continually fascinated by figurative images that challenge conventional representation in painting. She is particularly interested in creating images that reflect her daily life, personal experience, memory and subconscious. Three years ago her mother passed away and she began to study Buddhism, developing a great affinity with it. She sees Buddhism as a science of the mind, rather than a religion, and believes it can apply to, and influence, her art and life in many positive ways.

Yong Min Cho, Listening (2016)

Yong Min Cho is artistic director of A+M (Asia Movement), Choreographer, Dancer and Creative Movement teacher. Yong Min Cho began his dance studies at the Italian dance theatre school founded by Paolo Grassi, Piccolo Teatro, in Milan. After three years of training in Milan he moved to Venice to join the Academia I’sola Danza, where he worked with the renowned American contemporary dance choreographer Carolyn Carlson and as a dancer at the Centre Teatrale di Ricerca Venezia. Since 2005, he has been living and working in London whilst touring in Italy and South Korea. During 2014 he was artist/ choreographer in residence at Asia House, London. Yong Min Cho will be performing a site-specific piece ‘Listening’ on the opening night of Sacred Art.

Young Jin Choi, Hyun (2015), ultrachrome print

Young Jin Choi began his career by taking photographs at Saemangeum in 2004. Since then he has become increasingly celebrated for documenting nature in raw, straightforward, and powerful photography. He has published prolifically in photo books in Korea, including one of his celebrated series West Sea of Korea. He is currently working on a yearlong documentation of the four seasons of Seoul’s cityscape from Bukhansan mountain. In 2009 he was awarded the High Commendation for the Prix Pictet Prize. His work is an expression of ‘Hyun’ – a term that captures all the mysteries of emptiness and how it symbolises the emptiness and impermanence of civilisation.



One thought on “Exhibition news: Sacred Art – an international group exhibition at Aberglasney House, Carmarthen

  1. Rats! Stayed in a cottage in Llangathen a couple of hundred yards from Aberglasney for a few days last week! What a shame to have missed this!

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