Korean ceramics at the British Ceramics Biennial

Wedgewood + Spode

This year the British Ceramics Biennial has two major strands with a Korean interest: first, a continuation of the Made in Korea project curated by Kay Aplin of Brighton’s Ceramic House, with output from a residency programme in which Korean potters Kim Jin and Baek Kyung-won produced work that responds to the ceramics produced by Wedgwood.

Second, work by Kim Juree (whose work you can see in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Contemporary Korean Ceramics exhibition) and by onggi potter Oh Hyang-jong. Stoke-on-Trent based potter Neil Brownsword collaborates with both Korean artists in a range of projects. Brownsword was awarded the Grand Prize at the 2015 Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale, South Korea, and jointly with Kim Juree will be participating in a ceramics residency at the Victoria and Albert Museum later this year.

British Ceramics Biennial

Stoke on Trent, 23 Sept – 5 Nov 2017

Made in Korea

Spode China Hall | Old Spode Works | Kingsway | Stoke-On-Trent ST4 1JH
Monday: Closed | Tuesday – Saturday: 10am-5pm | Sunday: 12-4pm

Made in Korea logo

Made in Korea tiles

Following the success of the exhibition of contemporary Korean ceramics at The Ceramic House and Sladmore Contemporary in May and July this year, we are proud to announce the next stage of this 14 month long project.

In May-June this year, The Ceramic House hosted its second international residency programme, inviting Kyung Won Baek and Jin Kim to live at The Ceramic House and make use of Kay Aplin’s ceramic facilities at Phoenix Brighton to make a new piece of work for British Ceramics Biennial 2017.

The Koreans’ work responds to the ceramic manufacturing traditions of Wedgwood in Stoke-on-Trent and will be exhibited alongside a new body of Kay’s work which takes its inspiration from traditional Korean roof tiles.

The installations will be linked by a four-channel sound piece by Joseph Young, composed of the sounds of hand-making processes recorded in artists’ studios in Korea and industrialised ceramic production recorded in Johnson Tiles Factory in Stoke-on-Trent. The combined works contribute to an exploration, a dialogue, between the making cultures of the UK and South Korea.

Artists: Kyung Won Baek, Jin Kim, Kay Aplin, Joseph Young with Jez Riley, Jason Singh, Joseph Young (UK), Hankil Ryu, Sehee Choi, Young Eun Kim (KR)



As part of our Made in Korea project we mounting a series of ambitious installations at British Ceramics Biennial accompanied by the launch of a GPS triggered sound walk – Celadonaphonic.

The installations are:

Kay Aplin: Pavilion (Glazed porcelain tiles)
An installation inspired by roof tiles that feature on traditional Korean architecture

Jin Kim and Kyung Won Baek: Shadow Workers (Porcelain, mirrored acrylic, custom designed wallpaper)
An installation inspired by Wedgwood Jasperware with a focus on the female labour force employed in the Potteries

Joseph Young: Handmade/Automation (Four Channel Sound)
A sonic dialogue between two making cultures featuring field recordings from artists’ studios in Korea and ceramic production lines in Stoke-on-Trent

The three pieces of work will be exhibited together in the China Hall at Spode Works in Stoke-on-Trent and represent the culmination of our international residency programme and the Made in Korea project. A selection of the work will also be displayed at Resonance Festival in Seoul, South Korea in November.


CELADONAPHONIC is a conflation of two words ‘celadon’ – a type of green clay used in traditional Korean ceramics and ‘phonic’ meaning of sound. Six artists (3 Korean, 3 British) have been commissioned to make new sound works about ceramics – some have used field recordings as the basis of their work, others have evolved more conceptual processes. The works, taken together, explore the nature and practice of two very different making cultures.

The mobile app that hosts the soundwalk can be found at echoes.xyz and is available for both iOS and Android.

Embodied Matter

Spode China Hall

In collaboration with Valentine Clays and Onggi trained potter Oh Hyang-jong, Neil Brownsword arrests a range of intermediary forms that derive from mechanical and manual methods of processing raw clay. These culturally diverse rhythms of labour – from foot wedging to filter press cake, retain within their fabric nonchalant actions and bodily repetitions that occupy territory between raw geology and the crafted object. During the opening week of the biennial Oh Hyang-jong will work live in the UK/Korea Exchange exhibition space providing a rare opportunity where the distinct traditions of South Korea and North Staffordshire collide.

Evanescent Landscape: Terraced Houses

World Of Wedgwood | Wedgwood Drive | Barlaston | Stoke-On-Trent ST12 9ER | www.worldofwedgwood.com
Monday – Sunday: 10am – 5pm

By the mid 18th century, as archaeological discoveries were being excavated at the Roman cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii, Classical influence began to be absorbed into many aspects of design and architecture. Many manufacturers including Josiah Wedgwood satisfied the demand for these fashions, that were often influenced by romantic representations of the ruin and picturesque decay as a result of the Grand Tour.

Kim Juree revisits these historic themes through a contemporary lens, but her concerns are for less exotic architectural reference points. Pioneer industrialists such as Wedgwood, Spode and Minton were responsible for accommodating their workforce in purpose built housing, with the belief that ‘well-housed workers produced better work’. The rows of terraced houses linked intrinsically to the Middleport Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, typify the style of houses built for pottery workers in the nineteenth century. Those which have not been demolished or modernised for residential purposes, are planned to be re-developed as a community-focused heritage centre. Through her response, Kim draws attention to the paradoxes of regeneration and the displacement of community through ‘urban cleansing’.

Place and Practices

At both Spode China Hall and World of Wedgwood

Throughout history, ceramics have played an important role in the phenomenon of cultural transfer. For centuries China, Japan and Korea have influenced each other’s aesthetics, practices and technologies. Subsequent trade with the West, and the imitation and hybridization of Oriental styles in the late 18th centuries greatly influence the development of new ceramic traditions in Europe.

Kim Juree: Hwi-gyeoung Series, 2015
Kim Juree: Hwi-gyeoung Series, 2015

The British Ceramics Biennial 2017 sees a continuation of this cycle of exchange, through the site orientated residency Place and Practices, where artists Neil Brownsword (UK), Kim Juree (KR) and Oh Hyang-jong (KR) present a cross-cultural response to themes of materiality, place and tradition. The project extends each artists’ ongoing investigations into architectural heritage, traditional craft, and the social and political histories of place and labour. The outcomes of this research constitute a major installation at the former Spode Factory, together with an intervention at World of Wedgwood which draws upon themes and objects within the Wedgwood Museum’s historic collection


(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.