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Exhibition news: Arumjigi brings work of 38 artisans to London Craft Week

The Koreans are coming to London Craft Week in force. As well as the Made in Korea ceramics exhibition at Sladmore Contemporary, there are nearly fourty artisans exhibiting courtesy of the Arumjigi Cultural Keepers Foundation. Beth McKillop came across them in the 2016 Culture Communication Forum in Seoul, and they exhibited a gorgeous set of costume at the KCC back in 2011.

Craft Narrative: Beauty in Everyday Living

10 Thurloe place, Kensington, London, UK
Wednesday 3 – Sunday 7 May 2017
Opening Reception: Tuesday 2 May 2017, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Section 1: Traditional Alcoholic Beverages with Side Dishes
Section 2: Becoming One with Tea
Section 3: Dosirak Lunchbox — Joyful Meal

Arumjigi main image
photo © JongGun Lee

ARUMJIGI Culture Keepers Foundation will present a showcase exhibition on ‘Korean Vessels and Table Settings’ based on the research into craftsmanship by introducing over 38 of Korean Artisans and Designers in the center of London

From May 3rd-7th 2017, the third edition of ‘London Craft Week (LCW)’ takes up residence in the capital. Through participating in LCW as an exhibitor, ‘Arumjigi Culture Keepers Foundation’ hosts an exhibition featuring based on the research into craftsmanship which is instrumental toward imparting Korean virtue of a healthy and beautiful culture of cuisine in daily life.

Arumjigi aims to identify and enhance the essence and beauty of traditional Korean culture. The exhibition that showing in the UK for the first time will present overall narrative about Korean creativity and craftsmanship rooted in our remarkable culture and traditions but reflecting the contemporary and relevance to today.

Arumjigi will exhibit the essence of Arumjigi’s archival work on traditional cuisine during the past 14 years while presenting the possibility of practicality of traditional craftworks with its individuality and understated beauty appropriate for the modern lifestyle. Arumjigi exhibitions are always the result of year-long joint research and collaboration between traditional artisans and contemporary designers. The exhibition will play an important role in developing a global awareness and understanding of Korea’s rich craft and design heritage.

Arumjigi also intends to explore the potential and future of Korean vessels through suggestions and ideas by leading artists in crafts and design. Arumjigi hope that the palate and nutrition, care and love, and visual beauty showcased at this exhibition in LCW become an integral part of meals everywhere.

Arumjigi will host the pre-opening reception on May 2nd at 6:00pm at 10 Thurloe place which is right across Victoria and Albert Museum. And afterwards, there will be also London Craft Week official opening party at 7:30pm at Victoria and Albert Museum.

Participating Artists

Baek Kyung Won | Choi Ji Kwang | Choi Ki | Chung Jae Hyo | Chung Yong Jin | Ha Ji Hoon | Han Jeong Yong | Huh Sang Wook | Hwang Kap Sun | Hyun Ji Yeon | Jang Mi Ne | Jeong Ki Yeon | Joe Won Sok | Jung Yu Ri | Kang Oong Ki | Kim Hyeon Sung | Kim Il Woong | Kim Jong Hwan | Kim Kyeong Nam | Kim Mi Ra | Kim Min Sun | Kim Sun Tae | Kim Yong Hoe | Ko Hee Sook | Koh Bo Hyung | Lee Chang Hwa | Lee Cheon Soo | Lee Eun Bum | Lee Hun Chung | Lee In Chin | Lee In Hwa | Lee Kang Hyo | Lee Ki Wook | Shim Hyeon Seok | Sin Gyeong Gyun | Song Min Ho | Yi Yoon Shin | Yun Jae Duk & Rhee Sang Chol

Exhibition Details

Section 1: Traditional Alcoholic Beverages with Side Dishes

Jung Yu Ri: Kettle and cup (2015)
Jung Yu Ri: Kettle and cup (2015). Silver. photo © JongGun Lee

In the first section, which is based on the Arumjigi annual exhibition ‘Traditional Alcoholic Beverages with Side Dishes’ in 2016, sheds new light on Korean liquors from various point of view such as spirit, food, and craft.

Song Min Ho: Cup, Dish (2012)
Baek Kyung Won: Bottle and cup (2015). White porcelain clay. photo © JongGun Lee

By suggesting diverse ways to enjoy traditional drinking in ways that are steeped in Korean culture and tradition today, Arumjigi seeks ways to uphold and update the culture. Experts in alcoholic beverages and cuisine got together and suggested a marriage of Korean liquors with specific side dishes. Ceramic artists and craftsmen produced truly original vessels to serve Korean liquor and side dishes beautifully, and contemporary designers created wonderful new functional products, suggesting ways to further the development of Korean drinking culture.

Section 2: Becoming One with Tea

Lee In Hwa: Pitcher, Strainer (2012)
Lee In Hwa: Pitcher, Strainer (2012). White porcelain clay, colored clay. photo © JongGun Lee

The second section is about ‘Tea set that embody tea culture’. As the title ‘Becoming One with Tea’ implies, this exhibition expresses the wishes of Arumjigi for you to share ideas over a cup of tea and enjoy the moment when you comfortably become one with tea.

Arumjigi aspired to picture a scene of enjoying tea and becoming one with tea naturally and comfortably in our daily lives through this exhibition. Arumjigi believed it necessary to create a specific form of tea set in detail that would embody tea culture that is appropriate for the modern lifestyle. In so doing, Arumjigi also sought to preserve the comfortable tea drinking atmosphere enjoyed by the Koreans for many ages while they appreciated nature and the changing seasons.

Song Min Ho: Cup, Dish (2012)
Song Min Ho: Cup, Dish (2012). White porcelain clay. photo © JongGun Lee

Featured at this exhibition are tea sets made of wood, silver, tin, glass, and ceramics by thirty artists who have focused on the charms inherent to each material. These sets have the outer appearance and are full of the wit and sentiments that represent modern tea culture. The artists spent a great deal of time and energy reinterpreting traditional Korean tea sets to produce these pieces for us, while preserving the texture and stable proportion of traditional tea sets.

Section 3: Dosirak Lunchbox — Joyful Meal

Kim Sun Tae: Lidded bowl with two handles (2009)
Kim Sun Tae: Lidded bowl with two handles (2009). Beach veneer. photo © JongGun Lee

This exhibition on dosirak has been arranged to present traditional cuisine suited to modern eating spaces and eating habits so that we can keep the beauty and balanced nutrition of traditional cuisine and the love and care embodied in traditional cuisine.

Arumjigi presents a new alternative through this exhibition on simple dosirak lunchboxes, which can be carried conveniently while providing a good meal. Out of respect for the original meaning of dosirak, which refers to both a small bowl containing boiled rice and the boiled rice and side-dishes contained in the bowl, Arumjigi presents dosirak lunchboxes suited to modern society that are convenient and practical, and yet without losing the palate and beauty of the traditional food culture of Korea.

Ko Hee Sook: White Morning: Set of six white lidded bowls (2009)
Ko Hee Sook: White Morning: Set of six white lidded bowls (2009). Porcelain clay, Red pine. photo © JongGun Lee

Presented in this exhibition are lunchboxes (containers) by artists who have been working hard to adapt traditional crafts to modernity in the fields of wooden/lacquer works, ceramics, and bamboo works. All the works show the beauty of simplicity, which was at the heart of literati culture of the Joseon period(13th~18th century). This beauty symbolized integrity and is also important in modern society.

Arumjigi Culture Keepers Foundation

Arumjigi hall

Arumjigi Culture Keepers Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to uphold and build creatively on traditional Korean culture. The foundation’s Korean name, Arumjigi, is itself an expression of a simple yet determined commitment to take care of the cultural heritage of Korea, embracing it with open arms. Based upon this foundational mission, Arumjigi has been striving to uphold the heritage of traditional architecture and craft; as well as to promote the understanding of this through developing new architecture and design products. In this endeavor, Arumjigi Culture Keepers Foundation has concentrated its efforts on three themes of basic human needs: clothing, food, and housing. Arumjigi have developed a process of curating exhibitions on one of these three themes each year in the spirit of sharing Arumjigi’s mission with the larger community. In this respect, Arumjigi proudly presents the beauty of Korea through design works that possess the harmony and balance between modernity and tradition.

Since its founding fifteen years ago, Arumjigi has changed the public’s perception toward the creative transmission of traditional culture in Korea. In particular, through exhibiting high-quality products, Arumjigi has given renewed inspiration directly to experts in architecture, design, and crafts. Arumjigi intends to explore authenticity more deeply in the future in order to sustain the interest in tradition. While continuing activities for existing programs, Arumjigi plans to organize a practical training system with master artisans in the fields of clothing, food, and housing. Arumjigi intends to take advantage of the apprenticeship system and formal institutional education, and leverage such advantages to satisfy today’s demands. Of course, Arumjigi will continue to promote exhibitions to introduce Korean culture abroad, such as the exhibition through London Craft Week, 2017.


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