On Saturday 17th September 2022 Goldmark Gallery opened its third exhibition of pots by Lee Kang-hyo, who had set aside the very best of his work for five years in preparation for this show and the results are breathtaking. Lee is recognised to be one of the finest potters presently working in Korea and, with recent interviews in Tatler Magazine and a major exhibition in Hong Kong, has an international reputation to match.
Although his work has a modern twist he is deeply steeped in Korean tradition. The beauty of his work is undeniable; spontaneous and direct, generous of form and naturally inventive. Every pot, large or small, is a work of art; each as individual as a fingerprint and perfectly weighted, a relaxed and confident marriage of style and function.
Lee’s work is rooted in the major Korean ceramic traditions of Onggi pottery – voluminous storage jars originally designed for holding fermented food – and Punch’ong decoration, where white slip is layered and brushed over dark clay.
Much of his work derives its strength and energy from his unusual decorative techniques. Dancing to the sounds of traditional Korean music, he applies thick slips in a trance-like performance. Hurling, splashing, and sweeping the liquid clay onto his pot surfaces, initially with ladles, later with his bare hands, he remains totally abandoned to the rhythm of pounding drums.
‘He says “Making art is like setting off to travel to places to find peace in the mind”. It is wonderful that we too can partake in this remarkable voyage.’ – David Whiting.