Mother-of-pearl art goes modern

By Lee Woo-young
  • Published : Mar 16, 2015 - 19:21
  • Updated : Mar 16, 2015 - 19:21
Artist Kim Young-jun is holding a solo exhibition, presenting his modern interpretations of traditional lacquer and mother-of-pearl art, at the Korea Art Center in Insa-dong, Seoul.

The exhibition presents 45 works, including the latest “Cosmos” series and modern furniture inlaid with mother-of-pearl, as well as the decorated version of Microsoft’s video game console Xbox ordered by Bill Gates.

“I developed the new ‘Cosmos’ series from my round lacquer paintings inlaid with mother-of-pearl. It portrays the universe in our mind,” said Kim.
“Light 3” (Korea Art Center)
A lacquered Xbox inlaid with mother-of-pearl (Korea Art Center)

The artist shot to prominence after Gates asked him to decorate the game console with mother-of-pearl in 2008. Kim said it’s the first time that the inlaid version of the game console is being revealed to the public at the exhibition.

Some other highlights include the lacquered moon jar inlaid with micro slices of abalone shells, which took six years for Kim to complete. Two byzantine patterned console tables are also on view with tableware such as lacquered tea sets highlighted with gold.

“Korean mother-of-pearl art has boasted a high level of craftsmanship for hundreds of years. Artist Kim Young-jun is taking the old artistry to the next level, incorporating modern aesthetics. The exhibition offers audience an idea of how the lacquer and mother-of-pearl art is transforming into modern art, applicable to today’s lifestyle,” said Lee Il-young, director of the KAC.

The exhibition runs through April 7. For more information, call (02) 6262-8114.

By Lee Woo-young (wylee@heraldcorp.com)