A moon jar is highly reminiscent of Earth’s only natural satellite because of its smooth, round shape. The appeal of these white porcelain jars from the time of the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910) contributes to their uneven natural shape, like the actual moon, which is actually shaped like an imperfect sphere.
Artist Lee Hun-chung, who began his career in ceramics, takes the extra step with his editions: He breaks, skews, breaks, and even mounts his jars of moonshine on the wall. hangs. Some even look like they are unfinished.
The irregularities in his works are part of the 56-year-old’s artistic philosophies, which are based on acknowledging the uncertainty and unpredictability that lie beyond human control. Such contemplation is reflected in some 20 works at Storage by Hyundai Card, an exhibition space in central Seoul’s Itaewon owned and managed by the credit card company.
This is the first time Hyundai Card has organized a solo exhibition for a Korean artist.
Lee deviates from the traditional uses of such jars and instead sets them in new and unusual settings. The scope of his works has been expanded for this show to include design, architecture, sculpture, film and even digital art, namely non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
He has exhibited his works in major institutions including The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2011, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris in 2015, and the Gwacheon branch of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Gyeonggi in 2021.
Public figures such as actor Brad Pitt, architect Norman Foster and installation artist James Turrell have been known to have previously purchased his works.
When exploring Lee’s artistic world in the current “A Journey to Return Home” exhibition, the process of creating ceramic art must first be understood: repetition and meditation.
“Ceramics are characterized by a process that requires the repetition of very simple labor,” Li was quoted as saying in his notes. “whenever […] I have to blank out and forget everything in my mind and everything I used to do.
In this case, it may appear that the artist has complete control over the final results of the moon jar. But Lee deliberately brings up the loophole that in life, not everything happens the way you want or intend it to, and that this must ultimately be accepted. That is why he actively uses imperfect ceramic jars, no matter how unattractive they may seem.
For his “Untitled” (2023) piece, which consists of an installation and a single-channel video, Lee depicts the entire journey of dismantling the moon jars in different ways. For the installation, he displayed a moonshine jar frozen in a large ice cube. As the ice melted, the jar shattered into pieces, fragments of which are still on display.
The video next to it shows an unbaked clay moon jar being splashed in water for nine minutes.
Lee attempted to create NFTs that incorporated some of the labor required in his pottery, allowing visitors to repeatedly draw imperfect circles that would be programmed into the Moon Jar NFTs. The project was created in collaboration with NFT platform Konkrit.
The theme of the house is scattered throughout the exhibit, including a piece of dry ice and a piece in the shape of a house.
Lee sees “Homecoming” as an opportunity to reflect on what remains the fundamental nature of ceramics, despite their countless forays into styles, hence the exhibition title, “A Journey to Return Home.”
The show will continue till August 20. Storage by Hyundai Card is open from 12 noon to 9 pm from Tuesday to Saturday and till 6 pm on Sundays and holidays. Tickets for adults are 5,000 won ($3.80) and a 20 percent discount is available when paying with a Hyundai card.
by Shin Min-hee [[email protected]]