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Kiwa Console

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Kiwa Console detail

Chulan Kwak asserts that crafts are theoretically the result of ‘a blend of concept and tangible materials.’ From the point of view of craftsmanship, however, such notions arise from intuition. Conceptions of craft and design may stem from the needs and wants of the market, but it is the artist who plays the critical role, lending form. For Kwak, designed objects are more than commercial products for the consumer; rather, they are tangible archives of his personal experiences. This very philosophy is what distinguishes Kwak as an artist among designers.

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Kiwa Desktrays

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Kiwa Desktrays detail

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Kiwa Bench

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Kiwa Bench detail

Recognized by artists from diverse disciplines such as architecture and ceramics, Kwak’s extraordinary work distinguishes itself by his choice of media. The artist’s interdisciplinary approach reveals a dialectical process: crossing many boundaries and inviting organic outcomes through the association of disparate materials.

For Chulan Kwak, his creative practice is the de-contextualization of given frameworks and the formation of entirely new social contexts. The artist picks out minute changes in the mundane and ordinary, and employs them as critical elements for dialog. In this dialectic “form-giving” process of materializing the dematerialized, Kwak takes a step closer to mastering his creative vision of blending logic and intuition.

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Kiwa Vases

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Kiwa Sets

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Kiwa Accessary Box

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Kiwa Tray

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Kiwa Trays

Chulan Kwak graduated with a BFA in Woodworking & Furniture Design from the College of Fine Arts at Hongik University. He then acquired his MFA in Contextual Design at Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Upon re-entry, Kwak pursued a career in design. He is currently a faculty member at Sangmyung University.

Kwak has been actively exhibiting since 2011 including solo shows titled (The Next Door Gallery, Seoul Korea, 2011), (Templehof Berlin, Berlin, Germany, 2012), (Stockholmsmassan, Stockholm, Sweden, 2013), and (Les Docks, Paris, France, 2014). Kwak has participated in the group exhibitions (Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2010), (Nova Gallery, Eindhoven, Netherlands, 2010), and (Culture Station Seoul 284, Seoul, Korea, 2012), to name a few.

Chulan Kwak

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The white oil lamps created by this Korean ceramist Sung Chul Kim are the result of working with maximized precision. The specimens in his Moon series are based on semi-spheres crafted from wheel-thrown porcelain. Sung Chul Kim deliberately crafts one half larger than the other and then joins the two parts so as to form an oval.

Only after the firing process, when the two parts have fused into one piece, does he remove the projecting material using sandpaper. When lit, Kim’s lamps change their appearance, radiating cozy warmth instead of cool elegance, and their austere shapes take on a soft and flowing quality.

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Oil Lamps, 2014. Porcelain, half matt glaze.

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Oil Lamp Moon, 2014. Porcelain, half matt glaze, 17 × 2 cm.

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Oil Lamps, 2014. Porcelain, half matt glaze.

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Oil Lamps, 2014. Porcelain, half matt glaze.

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Dodecagonal Oil Lamp, 2012. Porcelain, half matt glaze, 9 × 2 cm.

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Dodecagonal Oil Lamp, 2014. Porcelain, half matt glaze, 10 × 5 cm.

Sungchul Kim’s most notable works are oil lamps in the style of Korean moon lamps, which use the reflective properties of glazed porcelain and the structure’s shape to magnify the luminosity of a small flame. Kim’s lamps are made of two wheel-thrown halves placed one on top of the other to create an egg-shaped form.

To ensure a near-perfect appearance, he makes one half larger than the other and sands it down after firing so that it fits the smaller piece exactly. Kim strives to capture the qualities of a river-worn stone in these objects, so that they are various in appearance but perfect unto themselves.

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vessel Matrix. 2015 Porcelain, decal, adhesive tape

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vessel Matrix. 2015 Porcelain, decal, adhesive tape

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Matrix Series uses a 16-piece mold. Lee made the mold, made the base jar by pouring in slip, and then cut it into pieces before the slip hardened. The pieces were then moved around according to a certain set of principles to carry out Lee’s experiment. Lee usually makes up a set of rules for the pieces to follow and experiments only in accordance with those rules. Once we understand the rules, we can have a bit of fun by trying to reverse-engineer his finished work.

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Motion Series 2016

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Motion Series 2011, Slipcasting / Porcelain 27×ø15cm, 28×ø15cm, 30×ø15cm, 28×ø15cm, 31×ø15cm, 27×ø15cm, 27×ø15cm, 28×ø15cm

One prototype was made from a plaster mold that can be mass-produced. The plaster mold that was produced to move up and down freely in the process of casting can be used as a cast to create different types of vessels. This producing method stands for a formative language in which a technique of plaster casting can not only be mass-produced, but also be used to create quality and unique products.

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Plaster molds are the only medium Lee uses for his artistic expression. To Lee, molds are useful not just for their capacity to reproduce, but because they enable him to conduct precise experiment of shapes. In craft, there is always some discrepancy between an idea sketch and its actual instantiation, but molds reduce it as much as possible.

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One example would be his Motion Series. One usually needs two pieces of mold to make a jar, but Lee uses 40 different pieces held together by rubber bands. He then moves individual pieces up and down to make the precise shape he wants. The “sketch” can then immediately convert slip into a jar. Because individual pieces of the mold can be moved around, the possibilities are endless as well as the number of identical products that can be produced.

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Tee Service - Ice Kingdom, Porzellan, 2012

Ice Kingdom is TEE SERVICE that a person whom I imagined in my mind seems to use on a daily basis.

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Born in Busan, 1983. Lives in Berlin. He got his BFA in Crafts from Chung-Ang University and his MFA in Ceramics from Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music. He got another MFA in Ceramic/Glass Design at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle.

He was awarded the first place in the 13th Westerwaldpreis European Design (2014), the bronze medal in the 9th International Ceramic Competition MINO in Japan (2011), and gold medal in the 3th New Generation in Korea. His works have been collected by Korea Ceramic Foundation in Yeoju and Das Grassi Museum in Leipsig.

His group exhibitions include Ggildarak — Becoming one with Tea (Areumjigi Korean House, Seoul, 2012) and The 44th AIC General Assembly in Paris – Korean Contemporary Ceramics Exhibition (Espace Commines, Paris, 2010).

Kyungmin Lee







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