Ancient books, manuscripts, and art from the Far East and South East Asia

Posts tagged “Korea

A soiree with CIAC, melting together Korea and Italy

Yesterday there has been the first event of 2011 promoted to develop the cultural exhcange between Korea and Italy.
The soiree, greatly organized by Michella Kim, founder of the CIAC (acronym for Corea-Italia Associazione, Arte e Cultura; in English Korea-Italy Association, Art and Culture), was set in one of the coolest location Milan nowaday can offer: at Combines XL, an art and design space in via Montevideo 9, Milan.
Korean guests who have worked in Italy for years were introduced to us at the very beginning of the party.
Visual artists, such as Sung Heun Kim, T-Yong Kim, fashion designers as Ho Bin Wang, Kiho Kim and his Japanese wife Momoko Hashigami, and the architect Hyun Seok Kim could teach us something about their beautiful country and their precious experience of life in Italy and Europe as well.
Furthermore, the party was enriched by an elegant buffet prepared by the chef, Kyu Joon Kim, who greatly managed to give us a taste of Korea trough several appetizers, and the staff was entirely composed by Korean students of art.

The happening was a precious opportunity to know better about the sophisticated culture and art of Korea.


Eilan Choo 주 영란 朱英蘭, paintings from the heart

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Eilan Choo is a paintress who lived in Korea and Japan. Although visual arts have always attracted her attention, it is only recently, that she could follow her passion for painting:
“Since I was very young, I have always been interested in the different forms of art, but while I was living in Asia, I was never able to develop my passion”. She tells me.
Today she’s attending the second year of a three year course at Brera’s Academy of Arts, located in Milan, Italy, a center of culture and a point of reference for many Asian artists.
“I am learning several painting styles and techniques as well, but I’m still looking for my own style”.
While I’m interviewing her, she strongly stresses the fact that art must rise from the bottom of the heart and it should not developed from a cold technical expertise.
“I haven’t understood yet why we (the students) must learn so many painting techniques; I mean that pure art should come from the bottom of your heart, from your inner feelings: if we agree this, techniques just fade into background”.
The striking thing that impresses me about this promising paintress is the depth of the feelings that bind her to art.
Eilean loves painting. She also tells me how she has always wanted to express herself through her paintings:
“My feelings, the history of my life and the experience I have made so far, create my art and at the same time they are part of myslef”.
Then she adds: “I truly believe in destiny and I believe that I was fated to be doing this”.
The latest paintings of Eilan are made in oil paints on canvas. The colour is spread by fingers and not by a brush. She explains why:
“One day, thinking of my life and my love for art I cried and looking at my tears I suddenly realized that the shape of my tears would have become the pattern my paintings”.
A painting of her, entitled “From Life” (2010), in the picture above, is the perfect example of her story: the fingermarks of her inprint themselves rithmically on canvas, drawing traces that look exactly like a fall of colorful tears.
The shade of colours enriches the work giving me a peaceful feeling.
Even though Eilan has attended the school of arts for just a couple of years, she’s participating in a group exposition in a gallery located downtown Milan, Corso Garibaldi, where three of her works are displayed.
About her future, Eilan plans to move to Paris where she would like to meet artists and new influences to enhance her art.

For further informations you can contact Eilan Choo at this email address:

Sichun Kim 시천 김, a tough sculptor looking for challenging materials

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Sichun Kim was born the 10th of November 1980 in Seul, Korea. He has started sculpting at the University of Arts of Kookmin, near Seul in 1999. The passion for figurative arts has sprung since he was in highschool: “I used to drawing in highschool, but as soon as I started my university course, I realized that, rather than drawings on a flat paper, I would love to create something from an unshaped mass of material”.

The majority of his artworks are made from clay, copper, steel, but also plastic and resin. He likes to melt different materials together in order to give shape to his creativity. One of his favourite works was the one he made for the thesis of undergraduate. It is called “Lost Violin” (2007) and it represents himself, playing a violin, an instrument he would have loved to learn since he was a child. This sculpture is a realistic and basic image of a man playing, but the composition itself is a complex creation of a number of different materials: the body is cast in steel, the head and the hands are of plastic and the violin is a complicated mix of pink murple and nylon (for the strings).

“It’s exhausting to cast a figure from steel or to shape it from murple and put the parts all together: but I feel good when I’m done: I feel myself accomplished”.

Lately, after joining a MA (Master of Arts) Sichun is shifting his interests from realistic subjects to more conceptual ones. The main work of this new feeling is a sculpture representing a wave formed by the constant repetition of five different patterns (40 x 40cm.) aligned over and over in order to make the audience aware of how repetitional patterns are present in our daily life.

“I was influenced by the famous “Big Wave off Kanagawa” of Katsuhika Hokusai (1820s).”.

Sichun has just completed a semester at the University of Huddersfield near Manchester, UK, where he has experienced the use of computer graphic to produce his latest work. This installation, of 2010, is a group of columns, projected through a new technology, and made of cardboard, colorful threads and pictures of the capitals of a church in York, UK.

“The environment I live in is fundamental for my art: I am very much influenced by it and it feeds my creativity. I would not be able to make art without a real experience”.

Today Sichun is planning to move to New York and he looks forward to making new experiences for his art and to meeting with new differents artists from around the world.

Milan 02/18/11

Hansam Kim 한샘 김 a greatly talented sculptress

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Hansam Kim is a young Korean scupltress who was born in 1982 in Pusan, the second largest metropolis of the South Korea. We meet for the first time in a café near via Fiori Chiari, a place which is well reknown for its artistic activities. While we are talking, I call her “an artist” or “a sculptress”, but Hansam corrects me immediately because she is rather consider herself humbly “a student of sculpture”. Yet her curriculum of studies and her ability would make her qualified as a proper artist without any doubt.
I interview her while she’s working on cube of clay and I notice how many schoolmates of her stop to watch her sculpting technique, trying to get some secret from her skillful hands.
Hansam explains: “When I had to prepare the entrance to the University in Korea, the teachers use to train students pulling up an envelope containing the assignement of the day. We had four hours to develope our work, and after a break, the next envelope was opened for the training of the afternoon and then again with a third one for the evening. I needed to be fast and precise. We would stay at school from 9 a.m. up to 10 p.m. every day for two months. I believe that I learned and developped my personal techinques during those two months”.
Hansam studied at the Ulsan’s School of Art, where she graduated in 2000, and then, following her passione for visual arts she joined the Kookmin’s University of Art where she got her degree in 2005.
During the years of highschool in Ulsan, a teacher pushed her to put her efforts in sculpting, realizing the great skills in the reproductions of small details of the objects shown during the class to be copied by students.
“During a drawing lesson, when my teacher realized that I was lefthanded, he told me to apply for sculpture. He explained to me that a lefthanded person use the right side of the brain; the one set for analytical and logical tasks, like maths and reproducing geometrical images. From that day on, I have started to put all of my efforts in the tridimensional creations and I left behind other figurative arts.”.
That good advice has paid off few years later, in fact, just after her graduation from University, some of the works of Hansam were chosen for a collective exposition in a gallery of up-and-coming young artists. Hansam in subsequent years has participated in numerous art exhibitions related to the circle of artists of her university.
One of the installations of this young sculptress, which first drew great attention and is assessed by positive reviews, is an installation displayed in Seoul in 2005, representing a metal cube surrounded by a group of floating skulls embedded with a mosaic glass.
The group of shining skulls recalls in the minds of us Westerners, the most famous “For the Love of God“, the human skull in platinum diamond-encrusted made by Damien Hirst, which made its public appearance in June 2007.
“Each time I show my book, anyone seeing my installation with the skulls of gleaming glass, points out on how I was inspired by Hirst” Hansam tells me, almost like an embarrassing secret to confess. Yet her tone of despair is understandable as the result of its creation is given every time to the mere copy instead of an artistic work born by her creativity.
“My installation dates back to 2005, two years before Hirst’s skull made its appearance”.
Those two works recall clearly each other: it is undeniable.
Hansam tells me the reason of choosing to shape those skulls:
“The profile of a human skull seems to smile. I wanted to flip the negative feelings it conveys, turning it into something bright and irreverent, which is no longer scaring”.
Today Hansam is graduating at the Milan’s Brera Academy of Art, after a specialized course of four years, but surprisingly she plans to move to fashion to explore an artistic dimension that is more likely to pay back, compared to that of sculpture.

Wherever the love for art will lead her, I bet she will take with her the wealth of technical expertise and creativity that until now has characterized her work.