The modernity born of
evolving tradition, based on
firmly maintained identity
The Constancy & Change in Korean Traditional Craft 2014
exhibition will be held in the Triennale di Milano in April for
a second consecutive year.
The eleven pieces of traditional Korean crafts presented
last year each revealed a cross section of the nation’s tradition
in craft, which each artisan has evolved throughout his or her
life. Opinion leaders in design, craft, architecture and other
endeavors who visited the exhibition among the many shows of
the Milano Design Week instantly understood the depth of
sophistication in the objects. They seemed to share the moving
moments of feeling the internal beauty and values of Korean
handicrafts which have been carried on over many centuries.
As the Executive Creative Director of the exhibition last year,
I celebrated the good news that some of the exhibited works of
our artisans had been included in collections at the British
Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Taking place
in the season and location that attracts the greatest crowds
in Europe, the Korean traditional craft exhibition was an
excellent opportunity to show the lesser-known artistic roots
of Korean cultural tradition that buttress the advanced
We head to Milano again in April in 2014, this time with more
diverse and enriched abundant works of traditional craft. Same
as last year, the exhibition will be held during the well-attended
International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition at the same
venue — La Triennale di Milano — which is known for its
selectiveness and high attendance.
Ceramic artisans participating in the exhibition are Lee Kang-hyo
and Lee Gee-jo, who specialize in buncheong ceramics and
white porcelain respectively. The woodwork for the hanji-plastered
chest, which emphasizes the physical characteristics of the
mulberry paper, was created by Park Myeong-bae, an Important
Intangible Cultural Properties artisan. The hanji paper work is
done by Han Kyung-hwa. Paper string container and baskets
were created by artists Kim Eun-hye and Kang Seong-hi.
We hope that the exhibition will be able to demonstrate to the world
not only the restrained and profound beauty of Korean traditional
craft, but also explain that Korea’s economic emanation is not only
driven by technology but rooted in and shaped through the seasoned
cultural tradition. Also, viewers will get a glimpse of the nation’s
potentials through the sophisticated taste, skillful techniques, and
sincerity towards natural materials of the exhibited pieces.
Additionally, Cristina Morozzi, who awakened us to the true
values of Korean traditional crafts in her review last year, has again
written an impressive review, for this year’s show. “Objects have
souls, and objects talk” is the title.
I would like to give my very special thanks to legendary art critique
Gillo Dorfles for his review of our show. Mr. Dorfles, who turns 105
in a few days on April 12, has written a moving review that praised
“the Korean craftsmen who make authentic masterpieces.” Preparation
of this year’s exhibition is supported by architectural firm Origoni
Steiner Architetti Associati as well as various local experts in Milan.
Lastly, I would like to thank Ms. Chang Myungsook of the Planning
Committee, for providing valuable local knowledge and acting as a
mediator between Korea and Milan.