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Oh Man Chul, The Moon Jar: A Shared Pleasure, at Han Collection

Han Collection’s second exhibition this November:

The Moon Jar: A Shared Pleasure

Han Collection | 33 Museum Street | Bloomsbury | London WC1A 1LH
14 November – 21 December 2019
Register on Eventbrite

Oh Man Chul

It is already the third time working as a painter and in pottery with Kangsan…

Overwhelmed with the undeserved attention and the thrilling impression of the ceramic painting that has been reborn in the midst of numerous trials and difficulties whereby I had been constantly on the run for 10 years to be satisfied with a high quality of work, each day I feel the artistic spirit of the painters and potters of the Chosun Dynasty, with the heart of polishing porcelain every day. The white porcelain of Chosun Dynasty holds various forms and colours. In particular, the moon jar, unique to the Chosun Dynasty which appeared in the mid to late 17th century and became popular until the mid-18th century, is regarded as the essence of Chosun’s white porcelain, with a glimpse of ‘jeoljaemi (understatement)’, which was intended to be a philosophy of life in this moon jar which expresses the smooth form of beauty and friendly nature of the Chosun Dynasty in an abstract form unlike those from China or Japan.

Since the moon jar uses reduction firing (환원 소성), it holds many colours such as oily gray resembling milk, pure white like snow, cloudy gray, energetic white, etc. depending on the kiln firing and soil, and its characteristics may be found from the various colours on the pods that emerged on the surface of the moon jar, since the pottery were made for certain special needs at the time.

As one teacher noted, “it is not very distorted, yet it is not a round circle, and it is silly but innocent beauty is fascinating,” when working on the moon jar, I feel that I am gradually resembling the moon jar, unshakable in the world, becoming an expression of unconscious life with a generous heart like the full moon.

While expressing the old aged colours as if seeping through the bas-relief and engraved moon jar, and looking at the reborn moon jar after being baptized by the kiln fire at 1,330 degrees of high temperature after repetitive diligence and labour intensive flow of time, all the troubles and hassles soon disappear, and I feel a catharsis of life along with the souls of ancient Korean potters.

Much like the Jeoljemi, the Korean philosophy of life is melted into the moon jar, humbleness and natural beauty seeps through my moon jar and the fusion of the physical properties of soil and the fire to unfold the world of ceramic painting will be the source of my struggles of my thoughts.

A breezy day in September 2019 Writer’s Note Oh Man Chul

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