Rectangular Ritual Basin W. 36cm, D. 57.5cm, H. 26cm
Professor Lee Gee-jo is an artist showing structural form objects. He shapes his works using porcelain clay slabs. His works are hexagonal, which is different from cornered porcelain bottles of the Joseon period. Prof. Lee, however, is an artist, using the most non-structural ways in that he is continuously patting, pushing, connecting and building, using his fingers, palm and hands. He is a master of handling porcelain which defies easy manipulation. He travels and studies all over Korea to find and develop the best porcelain clay mine. He is the only artist to transform the porcelain ritual bowls of the Joseon period into the ones that can blend with the modern spirits and requirements.
He is one of the most notable Joseon porcelain artists at home and abroad. Square Ritual Basin and Bowl on display at this exhibition epitomizes the refined simplicity of the Joseon porcelain as he had poured his energy, experience and technique. Flat space of the Joseon porcelain and three legs are structurally melded together. Such construction is impossible without long experience, thoughtful planning and highly technical execution. It is a wonder that he could create an object of this size using porcelain clay. Porcelain clay is not apt to build a large object because it lacks viscosity.
This work reminds the viewers of wrapper cloths of the Joseon period, which represents the wistful labor and life of the Joseon period women who had created aesthetically perfect geometric patterns without a sketch or a plan in their wrapper cloths, the artistic pinnacle of the Joseon fabrics. Like those wrapper cloths, Lee’s work is a quilt work in porcelain, porcelain clay slabs of varying sizes connected together. The work on display is an amalgamation of the cool and clear head of a scholar and the hot and passionate heart of a pheasant.
Born in 1959 on Jeju Island, he graduated from the College of Fine Arts at the Seoul National University. He has been Professor in the Department of Craft Arts at ChungAng University since 1995. Since his first solo exhibition at Seoul To Gallery in 1989, he has had 12 exhibitions at galleries around the world including in New York and Paris. Lee has been invited to about 20 group exhibitions such as From Korea – White Porcelain, SOFA New York 2006, the Korea-China Ceramic Art Exchange Exhibition at Gyeonggi Ceramic Museum in 2011 and the Korea Ceramic Exhibition held to celebrate the opening of the Korean Cultural Center in Brussels, Belgium. His work was launched at Christie’s Auction, New York in 2004 and was awarded the UNESCO Seal of Excellence for Handicrafts in 2008. His works are on display at ten renowned museums, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Gyeonggi Ceramic Museum (formerly Gwangju Joseon State Kiln Museum).