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Exhibition visit: Korean crafts at Collect 2019

Installation view at 4 Masons Yard
Installation view at 4 Masons Yard

Collect at the Saatchi Gallery can always be relied upon to bring together a wide range of high quality crafts, and is a fair where I spend as much time looking at the non-Korean objects as I do the Korean ones. And it’s always wise to keep an eye open, in the non-Korean galleries, because there’s always a chance that there will be some Korean objects in their displays too. This year London’s Cube Gallery had a whole wall of Myung Nam An’s Eye Series ceramic objects, glistening like spidery jewels, that caught your eye in teh corner of the first floor. It’s nice to see her work continuing to be displayed in London despite the fact she now lives in Miami.

Works from Myung Nam An's Eye Series
Works from Myung Nam An’s Eye Series, at Cube Gallery

Gallery LVS and the City of Icheon had an impressive display, as one might expect from that city of ceramics, and without the dramatic granite wall hangings by Jung Kwang-sik that were so stunning last year the focus was on the tea bowls, jars and other ceramics. The works that caught our eye were Kim Dae-hoon’s funereal-looking rectangular boxes decorated with script – which we last saw at the KCC two years ago – and Seo Kwang-soo’s virtuoso composite pieces of different syles of vases fused together.

Wannmul had a wide selection of ceramics, metalwork and jewellery, with many of their artists familiar names from the display of Sikijang last year. I didn’t get the chance to talk to the gallerist to determine whether there was a link between the two galleries, as there was a throng of people at the stall. Of the new names, I was particularly drawn to the brassware of Minn The-kyoung and the fragile-looking ceramics of Park Seo-yeon.

Last but not least, Korea Craft and Design Foundation marked their fifth appearance at Collect with another assembly of highly desirable objects, and also held a ten-day pop-up show after the main event in Mason’s Yard showing the work of three of their ceramic artists (Lee Soo-jong, Park Sung-wook and Huh Sang-wook).

It was nice to see some red dots affixed to many of the works, particularly at KCDF, which hopefully will persuade the galleries to return next year.

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