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Contemporary craft in Swedish show

Swedish Ambassador Lars Danielsson and his wife Gunilla von Utfall host their first event in Korea. (Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald)
Swedish Ambassador Lars Danielsson and his wife Gunilla von Utfall host their first event in Korea. (Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald)
As a child, arts and crafts comprise a whole host of activities and hobbies related to making things with one’s hands.

As young artists become adults, their work into the realm of craft art evolves and takes on a new dimension reflecting the inner nature of a country’s people.

“As Swedes, we are very close to nature so you see a very different expression of art related to nature, which is typically Swedish,” said newly arrived Swedish Ambassador-Designate Lars Danielsson during his first interview with the local press.

Hosted at the Korea Foundation Cultural Center, the Swedish Contemporary Craft Art exhibition showcases some of the most interesting pieces from 17 Swedish artists who use materials such as ceramics, glass, metals and wood.

“Craft art is a big thing in Sweden,” he said during his first event.

The first thing that stands out in this exhibition is the difference between the works on display until Oct. 27 and the clean, famed strict Scandinavian styles from Sweden in the 1950s, which many people still associate with Swedish design.

“I would guess that there is a relation to Korean art,” he said. “I have only been here for three weeks but what I have seen is that Korean art reflects different aspects of nature so this is one way of showing modern Swedish culture to a Korean audience.”

Originally, about 100 Swedish artists signed up to display their art at this exhibition but So Jin-sook, the curator of the exhibition ― who was born in Korea and has lived in Sweden for 30 years ― picked each piece personally for the local audience.

“This means that she has an excellent knowledge of the two cultures,” he said.

One artist with work on display is the wife of former Swedish Ambassador Lars Vargo. Eva uses Korean hanji paper to make her unique pieces that have delighted local audiences for several years.

“There are pieces that may provoke you, some that may please you and hopefully some that may please your eyes. We are trying to show the variety of Swedish art,” Danielsson said.

For more information on the center such as directions and hours of operation visit www.kf.or.kr.

More information about the exhibition can also be had by visiting the embassy’s site at www.swedenabroad.se/seoul.

By Yoav Cerralbo (yoav@heraldcorp.com)
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