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Untitled, 2016. Wheel Thrown and hand carved porcelain

This idea of simplicity in ceramics is always an intriguing one for me, especially achieving harmony in both detail and form. I think many view this kind of work as ‘easy’ compared to the more decorative approaches throughout the years, but actually to go this route shows up any imperfections and means that everything must be in order to ensure all elements work harmoniously.

Movie shooting by Hyundai Motors Group, Movie editing by Director.Yoo Ji - Heuk

These porcelain vessels by Korean artist Jong Min Lee are particularly fascinating as he’s given this concept of decoration a new meaning. From afar they have all the hallmarks of those simple vessels created in the Joseon Dynasty, it’s only once you get up-close you notice that they’ve been intricately carved using the smooth porcelain surface as a canvas to convey Min Lee’s concept of nature flowing throughout. The angle of his carving is determined by the direction of the light shining, this creates unique shadows and depths depending on the placement of the piece.

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Untitled, 2016. Wheel Thrown and hand carved porcelain

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Untitled, 2016. Wheel Thrown and hand carved porcelain

Impressive in all aspects, I find it especially inspiring the amount of effort and time that has gone in to these. Not only does Jong have to make these flowing forms on the pottery wheel, he also has to risk losing these one of a kind pieces that take months to make in the unpredictable firing process. This uplifts them to a whole new stature, but origins of utility are still rooted throughout.

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Detail

When seen from a distance, this Korean artist’s porcelain vases evoke the mysterious simplicity characteristic of ceramics created in the Joseon Dynasty (1393–1910). A closer look reveals delicate ornamental patterns on their surfaces, inspired by the potter’s observing nature, such as trees and leaves moving in the wind, small waves breaking on the seashore or calmly flowing waters. Jong-Min Lee wants the beholder to be “profoundly fascinated” by this second level of contemplative insight.

The crafting process is extremely time-consuming. After wheel-throwing his vases and allowing them to dry, he accurately carves the patterns into the surfaces in the course of weeks or even months. Only then does he apply the glazes and fires the vessels in the kiln. Divested of any functionality due to their distinctly narrow openings, his vases present themselves as genuine art objects. This artist also attaches great importance to handcrafting them entirely by himself.

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Untitled, 2015. Wheel Thrown and hand carved porcelain, H 42 cm, Ø 22 cm

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Untitled, 2015. Wheel Thrown and hand carved porcelain, H 31 cm, Ø 30 cm

I carve a very sensitive pattern onto molded clay. The pattern I carve motivates the viewer's spirit to vibrate. The pattern simulates nature in movement, similar to waves on a lake. The expression of nature in my artwork changes according to the viewing distance of the piece.

When my artwork is viewed from a distance, a serene and tranquil feeling will wash over a veiwer just as a gentle breeze or gentle stream flowing around oneself. If you come close to my artwork you can see the gentleness of nature. My desire is to reflect gentle nature through the impressions of my artwork. From start to finish I persist in making my artwork with the passion of nature at its finest.

Jongmin Lee










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