LONDON.- Haunch of Venison
London presents the first major exhibition in the UK of the Korean artist Meekyoung Shin (b.1967) in February 2011. The exhibition will include a number of significant installations from Shin's ongoing 'Translation' project, in which virtuoso facsimiles of Chinese porcelain and Western classical sculpture are reinterpreted in soap.
Initially trained in Korea in a classical tradition of European sculpture, Shin subsequently moved to London where she became drawn to processes of 'translation' undertaken by objects representing a particular culture which have been subject to a shift in location.
In Translation Vases (2009), Shin reproduces several pieces of highly collectable porcelain - produced in China since the sixteenth century for consumption in the West - translating the form directly from the original. By rendering these precious objects in a seemingly fragile and transient material such as soap, Shin questions the authority and originality the original vases demand. Presenting the new vases on the packing crates in which they are shipped from location to location further emphasises the sense of dislocation and transformation.
'Ghost Series', a landscape of more than 200 translucent vessels resembling coloured glass, further evolves the notion of the transience of the original by stripping the forms of both their perceived solidity and their decorative markings, leaving only an echo of the original form.
Also exhibited are a series of earlier works representing Shin's reworking of classical Western sculpture. 'Crouching Aphrodite' (2002) presents the artist's figure as a marble antiquity but modelled in soap, the soft and vulnerable materiality of the medium a counterpoint to the canonical view of this tradition presented to her as a student. This approach is developed further in the impressive 'Aphrodite' (1998) and the more recent 'Kuros' series (2009), in which the figures have been exposed to the weathering of the elements, their disintegration mirroring that suffered over time by ancient sculpture created in seemingly more durable materials.