May 24 - Jun 21, 2013
SHIN GALLERY is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition in the United States of the artist Seunghee Lee – ‘Rebirth’ – on view May 24 to June 21, 2013. Seunghee deconstructs traditional three-dimensional porcelain into a flat image to transition the purpose of the object from its traditional purpose. By dismissing the practicality of porcelain vessels, he is able to convert it to an artistic subject. During the course of two decades, from the early 1980’s to the late 1990’s, Seunghee intensively trained in the techniques of porcelain pottery. From the late 1990’s he began to see a way to incorporate the traditional craft of pottery making it into a new form of contemporary art. After working with clay for over twenty years he began to interpret it in a broader sense and wanted to challenge the possibility of using the medium of porcelain pottery as the basis of contemporary art. Seunghee’s work centers on empty space. The porcelain vessel that looks like the center of the piece actually is a tool to explain the empty space. For Seunghee his artistic purpose is not so much to make a statement, but more on the side of questioning his identity as an artist as well as a person who lives in this world. Seunghee’s technique involves the use of traditional materials and he tries to make the color as close to the original traditional colors so that the viewers will feel the history of the porcelain. He mixes clay which is the basis of porcelain with water to a consistency like paint and he paints once every day on top of the surface of a flat board which is also made from clay. As the clay dries, the repetitive painting allows layers to accumulate, giving the surface a depth. He scrapes off the surface to create the figures and the empty space, and then glazes and bakes the pieces in a kiln. It takes about ninety days to complete one work. The fact that he uses traditional and original methods to create two-dimensional porcelain sets him apart from other artists. He wants viewers to feel the tension between the old and the contemporary. The artworks are all titled TAO and are numbered. In Chinese Tao means ‘porcelain’ and in English means ‘the path’. Seunghee does not ascribe deeper meaning to titles, but if pressed to put meaning then it would be the discipline of his finding his own path through his work in porcelain. Born in Cheongju, South Korea, Seung-hee now lives and works in Beijing, China. He received his BA from the Craft Design Department at Cheongju University. Seunghee has participated in numerous group exhibitions in Korea, China and the USA, including a 2012 show – ‘Alone Together’ – at Gallery Lee and Bae in Busan, Korea and a 2010 show – ‘Korean Art Show’ – at La.Venue in New York City. His most recent solo show – ‘Who R U’ – was a 2011 exhibition at Artside, Seoul, Korea. He was also a part of the group show at SHIN GALLERY – ‘Koreanism’ – in March 2013.