Yeesookyung – Why I Create Exploring the inspirations and attitudes of artists working with clay and ceramic, featured in Vitamin C
In her landmark series entitled Translated Vases, Korean artist Yeesookyung created sculptures by combining discarded shards of porcelain, assembling them to make new forms and fusing them with gold leaf. The resulting works are often organic in shape, resembling soap bubbles or other biomorphic forms.
Begun in 2002, this ongoing series represents a ceramic practice that benefits from productive failure. The artist collects broken shards from artisans who work in Korea replicating historical vessels from the Goryeo (918–1392) and Joseon (1392–1897) dynasties.
By ‘translating’ these porcelain elements, Yee highlights the fragility and imperfections of human existence as well as the inevitable failure of any attempt to construct historic continuity. Yee adds touches of 24-carat gold along the broken and re-sutured joints in these re-articulations of other people’s efforts, to suggest traces of opulence. She has explained that the Korean word geum is translated to mean both ‘crack’ and ‘gold’.
Here the Vitamin C: Clay and Ceramic in Contemporary Art featured artist tells us why she works in the medium, what particular challenges it holds for her and who she thinks always gets it right.
January 24, 2018