Korean ceramics have been admired since the 12th century for their superb craftsmanship and original shapes, techniques, and design, as well as for their visual reflection of the culture's history and soul. This exhibition focuses on five artists with well established reputations in Korea, whose visually stunning ceramic objects acknowledge and engage with Korean clay traditions yet embody innovative, unexpected art making and conceptual approaches. Life in Ceramics brings together for the first time the work of Kim Yikyung, Lee In Chin, Lee Kang Hyo, Lee Young-jae, and Yoon Kwang-cho. These contemporary ceramicists take familiar, everyday forms such as bowls and vases as a starting point from which to explore the astonishing beauty of these shapes as works of art. Each produces work grounded in Korea’s ancient ceramic traditions, but takes it in new and often surprising directions. Objects from each artist’s everyday ware collection will also be shown, so that visitors can examine how each artist makes the distinction between fine art and functional design.
Life in Ceramics: Five Contemporary Korean Artists was organized and produced by the Fowler Museum at UCLA. It was made possible by a major grant from the Korea Foundation. Additional support was provided by Korean Airlines. UMMA's installation is made possible in part by the University of Michigan Health System, Office of the President, and Nam Center for Korean Studies, and by the Friends of the University of Michigan Museum of Art, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts.