Lee Kang-hyo has spent more than 30 years endeavoring to interpret the Korean Buncheong in his own way. During the 1970s and 1980s many novice ceramicists looked to the past to modernize Korean ceramics. Lee was no exception. At the time, Korea was in the process of reinterpreting its cultural assets, including ceramics. Many of these ceramicists simply became reproduction artists copying historical items. Lee, however, did not. He had originally wanted to become a painter and as he gradually mastered the skill of applying liquefied white clay to the surface of vessels and large platters, he learned to treat ceramic surfaces like paper for ink brush painting. The marks he creates are comparable to landscapes depicting Korea’s four distinct seasons. For centuries, landscapes were explored before they were painted. Their memory was brought back to the artist’s studio and then captured on paper. Lee follows this practice. For Koreans, landscapes are spaces to be encountered and experienced rather than subjects to be observed for replication. Lee is internationally renowned. Recently he has conducted clay performances involving the making of large storage jars followed by splashing with liquefied clay mixtures in the manner of Jackson Pollock’s “action painting”.
Lee Kang-hyo's work is found in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Cité de la Céramique, Sèvres, France; Gyeonggi Ceramic Museum, Korea and more.
Buncheong Jar #1, 2017
Clay, white slip, Buncheong
37 x 41 x 21 cm
Wall Piece Buncheong The Sky, 2018
52 x 52 x 5 cm