PARIS.- Shin Meekyoung lives between Seoul and London . A graduate in sculpture from the University of Seoul and the Slade School of Fine Art in London , Shin Meekyoung has participated in numerous solo and group exhibits in Korea and throughout the world. In particular, she was invited to exhibit at the British Museum in 2007 and 2004 as part of exhibits exploring the shapes of Greco-Roman sculpture in their relationship with modernity.
She explores art history by manipulating a material that is rarely used in contemporary western art
soap. In this way she revisits the shapes handed down from a tutelary tradition characterizing sculpturesfrom Aphrodite to Buddhaas well as Asian ceramics, which have come to us from the most remote times.
During her years of sculpture training and apprenticeship in Korea, she was struck by the similarity between the texture of polished marble and that of soap, and also by the contrast between the two materials, marble being associated with immortality and soap suggesting erosion and eventually disappearance.
The process of making her works is long
She starts by fashioning a silicone mold from an original shape before filling it with liquefied soap. Once the soap has solidified, Shin Meekyoung chisels the molded soap and carves it out before painting its outer walls with natural pigments. She then finds traces of a pictorial past and uses natural pigments to reproduce the traditional scenes, flowers, or landscapes of the original porcelain. At times she achieves such transparency and luminosity that the object appears to be made of glass rather than ceramic.
The result is fascinating in its contradictions and beautyclassical yet contemporary, solid yet in a transient state.
The translation theme is at the heart of her work
an ongoing study of the contrast between sculptures, a reckoning of eras, the space in which her works are observed, the correspondence between the shapes and materials used.
Brought to the international art scene by the Kukje gallery, Shin Meekyoung is showing her work for the first time in France at the Lefebvre & Fils gallery. Twenty of her works, with references to Ming ceramics and Beijing glassworks, will be on display for a month and a half, starting on June 4, at the gallery in Rue du Bac, which has been specializing in ceramics for 5 generations.
Louis Lefebvre discovered this artist in his wanderings throughout the world; he was struck by the immediate contrast between traditional art and a contemporary practice. What I found attractive in Shin Meekyoungs work was this correlation between the past and present and this opposition between water and fire. Starting with my childhood, I learned about all forms of fire art, but never had I imagined that a material such as soap could be used to create works of such perfection.