Ceramic Artists Roe Kyung Jo and "Yeollimun"

Lee KyungSung,
Director of National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea

5 Oct. - 10 Oct. 1981

Mr. Kyung Jo Roe, a young Korean ceramic artist, has made his debut in 1979, when he was awarded a Grand Prize on "Ceramics Technique" at an annual exhibition sponsored by the authoritative art and architectural magazine "the Space". I have known him ever since he joined my class as a graduate student at the School of Art Education, Kyung Hee University in Seoul. Mr. Roe then was working hard to solidify widely the foundation of the Korea's traditional ceramic arts step by step.

He went to Japan in 1977 to continue his academic study at the Kanazawa College of Art and Crafts, and remained there for further developing his artistic skill under famous ceramic artists in Japan until the year of 1979.

Mr. Roe's main concern was to concentrate his efforts in studying on "Yeollimun" porcelain which is, now regarded, on the verge of disappearing, though we could find very few of them in our history of ceramic arts I firmly believe that his successful studies in Japan deserves well of his winning the Prize by the "Space" in 1979. I, as one of the juries then, gave unsparing recognition to his fine¡ıpiece of work and its superiority, and voted for awarding " Excellence Citation on Technique" provided by the above-said competition.

His private exhibition will take place soon at the Space Art Gallery with the selection of some 20 pieces of "Yeollimun" porcelain which are of no ordinary types. To forming patterns on "Yeollimun" porcelain, it is required to process from its initial stage of kneading body-clays, so as to form a pattern correspond to the original clay-body which leads to the estimated results. When we talk about the beauty of a porcelain in general, it may be classified to three different categories, such as shape, color, and patterns. The "Yeollimun" porcelain, needless to say, belongs to the last category. Patterns shown on average porcelain are either inlaid or painted by a brush on the surface of already prepared body-clay. Nevertheless, the process of kneading the body-clay and inlay or coloring of patterns on the clay-body is done in a separate manner.

Unlike the above-said ordinary ones, the technique for coloring "Yeollimun" porcelain is basically different; at the stage of kneading body-clay, you should mix coloring pigment and the quality which afterwards create the fantastic patterns In other words, you could call the patterns the clay-body itself, and was never processed on the body of a porcelain. So that the sensuous beauty of pattern looks nearly perfect.

You will notice that a variety of bottle-type porcelains are main line of display at this time's exhibition, and they will be relatively small in sizes - because, there is a great deal of technical difficulties in the work process of "Yeollimun" porcelain. The untiring aspiration of Mr. Roe shown in the newly developed technique of "Yeollimun" porcelain which is, now regarded, in danger of extinction, and his efforts to keep the traditional pattern in succession with creating his unique style in this field of activities, will give us great concern and expectations.