Whimsical, rustic, direct, fresh, audacious, contemporary — these are some of the qualities that have been attributed to the type of Korean ceramics known as buncheong. Buncheong ceramics are characterized by their informal style and their use of white clay as an aesthetic feature. The exhibition Poetry in Clay, opening September 16 and running through January 8, 2012 at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and featuring Korean artist Lee Kang Hyo.
It features more than fifty-five masterpieces, including six Korean national treasures, from the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul, Korea. In addition, selected Japanese ceramics from the Asian Art Museum’s collections show Japanese connections to Korean ceramics. Finally, contemporary buncheong as well as other forms of contemporary art influenced by Korean ceramics, on loan from Korea, demonstrate the vitality of this vibrant art form today.
The aesthetics and functions of buncheong ceramics reflect social developments of the beginnings of the Joseon dynasty at the end of the fourteenth century. Most were everyday wares used by people at many levels of society. Later buncheong allowed for increased regional expressiveness and creativity.
In the second half of the sixteenth century, a vogue for porcelain caused buncheong ceramic production to decline in Korea. But the style continued to be popular in Japan, where it had been introduced by Korean potters transported there following the Japanese invasions of Korea in the 1590s.
During the twentieth century, Korean artists began to revive the buncheong style. Today buncheong continues to inspire contemporary artists. Not only potters but also artists working in other mediums are trying to recapture the natural beauty of traditional buncheong ceramics.
Mindy Solomon Gallery Korean artist Lee Kang Hyo demonstrates his new style of ceramic forms and images in person on Saturday, September 17 from 12—4PM at the Asian Art Museum in celebration of the Korean Culture Day in San Francisco.