Meekyoung Shin’s current show at Barakat Gallery is the first major London exhibition to feature her new ceramic work. In the past, Shin has been known for her soap sculptures, many of which are designed to resemble Chinese or Korean ceramics. Now, having studied ceramics and glass at the RCA she is experimenting with clay, spending a couple of months a year in the Netherlands where she works in her new medium.
The Megalith series on show at Barakat seeks to recreate the natural forms created when the clay firing process goes wrong. One day the artist came across the debris of an exploded kiln: lumps of clay formed into natural rock shapes. Playing with the concept of naturalness, she made moulds so that she could recreate these accidental forms exactly. Perhaps we are being encouraged, like scholars of old, to consider these rocks as objects of natural beauty, to reflect that we do not need human intervention to create an object worthy of appreciation and contemplation. Yet these objects have required infinite care in their creation.
The way the objects are displayed in the gallery space is immediately interesting and appealing. Rocks of different sizes and colours are displayed along with some of Shin’s earlier classical soap sculptures and, just to tease the eye and brain still further, some genuine antique Mesopotamian stone reliefs and sculptures from Barakat’s collection.
Well worthy of a visit. The exhibition runs until 22 November, and was highlighted by FAD Magazine as one of the top London shows this month.