Clay meets Light
Ceramics remain – What we know today of the ancient world is brought to us by thousands of vessels and jar excavated from the soil by archaeologists throughout the last centuries. They attempt to reconstruct everyday life of the past through the paintings on these artefacts. Ceramics are thus messengers of the past. In their function as communicative devices they are connecting past and present. But today contemporary ceramic plays a similar role between coevals. That is what Korean artist Yong Hyun Chung who primarily works with clay is concerned about:
A created object occupies a space. In that space we coexist and have a relationship with the object with our eyes, hands, and mind. The empty space of the object holds our moments and shares our feelings. To me, the important function of ceramics is the reciprocity of human and social interaction. – Yong Hyun Chung
Beside various forms of vessels, bowls and functional pottery with different types of glaze made of stoneware or porcelain – elements of domestic pottery become delicate objects of art; the intricate production process is referred to in each work title (e. g. Bowls, 2008, Porcelain, Soda fired at cone 10 in reduction) – Yong Hyun Chung creates large scale installations. For his recent work "Light Cube" he added a further element, light. The "Light Cube" consists of several square porcelain pieces with rounded angles. They are tied together with cable straps – a device that occurs in further works as a sort of joint – and form a cube which is installed on the floor. A source of light is mounted inside the cube, the light shines through the intervals between the porcelain elements. Although clay is a very dense material Yong Hyun Chung manages to form such thin and fragile porcelain that each piece becomes translucent. Once the light is on, you can easily make out an internal honeycomb structure within each piece. This structure with assembled hexagons is known for her efficiency and her solidity and allows the construction of elegant edifices. With its warm golden shine "Light Cube" reminds of a cubic beehive – and unifies two aspects of intelligence: On the one side there is nature with its hexagonal structure, on the other the square or the cube, symbol of human intellect and proportions since Vitruvius. Yong Hyun Chung unifies these apparently incompatible systems to an artwork of energetic and subtle beauty and invites the audience to discover what contemporary ceramic is able to create – and evoke.
YONG HYUN CHUNG is from Korea and lives and works in Chicago, USA. Since 2002 Chung has held many group shows in the U.S., Japan, and Korea. He has recently had group shows, New Dialog of Korean-American Artist in the Fine Arts Center Gallery, Northeastern University, Chicago and Intertwine in KCC Art Gallery, Korean Cultural Center, Chicago. He received his B.F.A. from Kookmin University, Seoul, Korea and M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. Chung is currently working at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as Ceramics Studio Coordinator and teaching Ceramics at Lillstreet Art Center.