In Korea, as a fairly young director, it is not customary to write about an artist who is of an older generation particularly about someone who is distinguished in a high position. Therefore rather than write about the work I would like to take this opportunity to describe the procedure taken to plan the main exhibition ¡°The Making Process¡± for the Cheongju International Craft Biennale 2015.
When I was given the position of art director for this year¡¯s main exhibition I began by studying the previous eight biennales. I did not want to repeat the same artists again and I wanted to focus on Korean craft rather than inviting international artists. My objective was to understand what was required for this year¡¯s exhibition. Each time the biennale takes place an important artist is invited to hold a kind of retrospective exhibition. So this time I wanted to invite ROE Kyung Jo to show his works. What is different with artist ROE Kyung Jo is that he is showing his paintings for the first time.
It is an honor to be able to present a different type of work by the internationally distinguished artist ROE Kyung Jo . The artist¡¯s works are in the collection of internationally recognized art museums around the world such as the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum in London, UK; San Francisco Asian Art Museum, USA; Smithsonian Museum, USA; and many more. What is different about ROE Kyung Jo is that he grew up in an environment surrounded by the most distinguished art connoisseurs of Korea. Therefore he is familiar with art of the highest quality whether it is a painting or a piece of sculpture or a ceramic vessel. In the days when he was young it was rare for a Korean to think about art as the living conditions were so poor that the first thing that came to the mind of Korean people was to overcome hunger. ROE Kyung Jo was able to study and observe Korean aesthetics. This is reflected in his work. When appreciating ROE Kyung Jo ¡¯s paintings it is important to think about techniques applied in surface decoration in ceramic making. The paintings may appear at first to look like any other paintings one would encounter using either acrylic or oil paints. However with ROE Kyung Jo , he intentionally attempts to relate the surface matiere with ceramics. In other words, the motions used and stages taken are exactly the same as using slip on ceramics. This is because he desires to remain true to his ceramic practice. Therefore in the paintings there is an air of spontaneity that one finds in ceramics.
With the main exhibition for the Cheongju International Craft Biennale 2015 this year. I minimized the inclusion of international artists and focused much on Korean private collections in craft at the same time as introducing Korean artists. Finally I am most grateful to Artist/Professor ROE Kyung Jo for all his help in teaching me about Korean aesthetics and for his mentoring. I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest appreciation to the artist and everyone who helped with the exhibition – in life we are not alone and we cannot project our ideas and thoughts into reality without the help of many