<‘Long Life, Happiness, and Peace_壽福康寧>
@ Saeng-Myung Gallery of Handok Museum of Medicine and Pharmacy
Img_White Porcelain Gilt Gold Long Life, Happiness, Peace Pattern Placenta Jar (Img Courtesy of the artist)
As the first exhibition of 2016 at Korea’s first corporate museum, Handok Museum of Medicine and Pharmacy (Director Lee Kyeong-Rok), contemporary artist Yoo Eui Jeong’s ‘Long Life, Happiness, and Peace’ Exhibition will go through July 31. The exhibition was planned to shed new light upon historic relics and also embody the identity of Handok Museum of Medicine and Pharmacy’s Saeng-Myung Gallery through contemporary art.
An emphasis on the value of life as well as wishing for longevity, which appear in the diverse patterns and shapes of traditional ceramics, are directly linked with the role that today’s medicine plays. Based on the meeting of traditional artifacts which contain the human desire to “live a long and healthy life” and medicine which makes this realistically possible, artist Yoo Euijung produced as his new work a “21st century placenta jar” which contains our desires of today based on a ‘white porcelain placenta jar’ which is a major item among the Handok Museum collection. If the placenta jar artifact has an elegance and subtle beauty typical of Joseon Dynasty white porcelain, the new creation, ‘White Porcelain Gilt Gold Long Life, Happiness, Peace Pattern Placenta Jar’ (Hereinafter, ‘White Porcelain Gilt Gold Placenta Jar’) portrays value of life in a more direct way through an elaborate appearance, decorated with gold and other ornamental elements.
Artist Yoo Eui Jeong standing in front of “White Porcelain Placenta Jar (胎壺)” (Joseon Dynasty, 16c)
Yoo Eui Jeong is a contemporary artist who takes on an interesting approach, namely the concept of ’21st century artifact,’ and reinterprets traditional ceramics by borrowing old techniques and procedures from the museum’s artifacts and reproducing them for present day, and by doing so, his work has drifted between past and present, existence and fiction. For this exhibit, along with the artist’s new artwork, pieces from his ‘Life (壽)’ series and ‘Similar Artifacts’ series, which are connected in direct and indirect ways with the Handok collection, will be introduced.
The ‘White Porcelain Placenta Jar’ which is among the Joseon Dynasty medical relics owned by Handok Museum will be on display alongside the new ‘White Porcelain Gilt Gold Placenta Jar’ made in 2016 which got its motif from the formerly mentioned artifact so that visitors may appreciate medical artifacts in the same space with contemporary art. Artist Yoo Eui Jung explained, “Placenta jars are historic artifacts which the Joseon royalty used to enshrine a baby’s umbilical cord, packed with prayers for long life without sickness. In order to convey the relic’s meaning in a modern way, I coated my work with gold, a material to be of much value across all ages and countries, thus emphasizing the preciousness of life and to maximize the significance of the placenta jar as an invocation for long life without illness.”
In addition, Yoo’s signature works such as ‘2015 New Long Life, Happiness, and Peace ‘ and ‘Origin I’ will be available for viewing. Artist Yoo Eui Jung mixed various images and patterns such as Chinese characters, English, heart shapes, floral patterns, and pinup girls on traditional ceramics to reinvent them into “ceramics that reflect the 21st century.”
Artist Yoo Euijung graduated from Hongik University’s Department of Ceramics and Glass in their College of Fine Arts and went on to attain Masters and PhD degrees from the former. Afterward, he participated in several solo and group shows in galleries in Korea and abroad. He actively held solo shows around the country and presented his work in various exhibitions overseas; France in 2016, India in 2015, UK and Singapore in 2014, and Taiwan in 2011.
Yoo’s works are held in various collections such as the Art Bank of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea; National Museum of Decorative Arts, Trondheim, Norway; Han Hyang Lim Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art. His work has also been awarded Grand Prize at the 2011 30th Seoul Contemporary Ceramic Contest, and the Grand Prize in 2005 Icheon International Ceramic Biennale’s Clay Olympics for the Large Sculpture field.