Introducing Eleven Leading
Works of Korean Crafts
Humans have for a long time been using their hands to make
whatever they needed in their lives. Industrial advancements
have lifted some of the burden from human labor. However,
there are still objects that shine brighter with the human touch.
These are called crafts. Everywhere around the world, each
culture has their own unique crafts. Lifestyle, culture, material,
and skill determine the genre and style of each craft culture.
Crafts have also been passed down through tradition for
many years in Korea. From April 9 to 14, 2013, eleven works
will be exhibited in the Triennale di Milano during the
Milan Furniture Fair, representing Korea’s traditional crafts
made with Korean natural materials. We introduce to you to
the artists—who have built a world of their own while keeping
tradition alive—and to their works, which derive from the
past but have evolved to communicate in the language of
In this exhibit, viewers will also find real Korean mulberry paper hanji.
The artist says he has been making his paper using traditional methods,
and now people from all over the world come to him to buy his paper.
Kim Sam-sik’s handmade paper, which was made using all of his spirit
and effort, becomes a beautiful object of light when combined with
the work of light artist Kim Yeon-jin.
Kwon Dae-sup’s full moon jar refers to the full moon’s beauty and
plentifulness. Its fluid and bold curves bring a feeling of warmth to
Sohn Dae-hyun’s mother-of-pearl scroll design is a typical
Korean traditional pattern. However, Sohn gives a new order to
the design with his own style. The simple order of the repeating
arabesque design, which continues regardless of the furniture’s
structure, shows a non-relational composition of contemporary
Intangible Cultural Property Hong Jeong-sil’s silver inlaid incense burner
features a modern shape with restrained lines. Through the chipped-in
concise patterns at the surface along with inlaid silver lines, this modernized
traditional piece conveys the intellectual sensibilities of the artist lying in
Jang Kyung-chun recreated portable tray tables in zelkova wood by
selecting the most modern-shaped traditional tables used by the
Korean people. The peony and daffodil patterns show Oh Wang-taek’s
mastery in elaborate mother-of-pearl skills and draw in the viewer’s
The flower ornamentation, which was originally created to celebrate
the King’s feast at palaces and to wish for the prosperity of the
kingdom, uses natural materials to recreate flowers and butterflies.
Intangible Cultural Property Hwang Eul-soon has been creating
royal flowers possessing more beauty than a real flower through a
lifetime’s worth of effort.
The mysteriousness of the hanbok, Korean traditional clothing,
is expressed by combining the supple lines of the dress made
from natural materials. The harmony of big and small,
long and short, narrow and wide lines once again arouses the
beauty of the hanbok. Artists Suh Young-hee, Kim In-ja,
Jeong Yeong-ja Cho Hyo-soon created the work “Line+Line+Line”.
These sixteen artists and their eleven works are the stars
of this exhibit. While preparing for this exhibit, I was surprised and
thankful to see that our traditional craft artisans have successfully
maintained their places wherever they might be. A national
culture without tradition is like a tree without roots. I hope the
viewers of the world can identify with the fact that Korea’s growth
in diverse areas is a result of the power of Korean culture.
I want to thank the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; the
members of the Korean Craft & Design Foundation; and the members
of the planning committee for their unreserved support.
I would also like to thank Korail, Daiso, Korea Zinc, Dong Wha
Pharmaceuticals, Daejeon Terminal City, JY Books, Too Ccol for
School, Yeonsei University Health System, Eulji General Hospital,
Future and Hope Hospital, Volvik, Onnuri Pharmacy, Miev, Terminix,
Nasa Industral Safety, and Soulbrain for their patronage of the
artists’ on-site participation.