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Yeesookyung’s Translated Vases: Shattered, Fused, Revived

TEFAF Meet the Experts are interactive conversations with an exhibitor to engage with the vast knowledge and incredible artworks presented at TEFAF. Translated Vase is made in the manual labor-intensive production method of collecting ceramic fragments from potters’ failures, which they had destroyed, gluing them together one by one, and gold-plating the cracks to revive them into works of art. The significance of rebirth and healing, as the discarded fragments of white porcelain and celadon were revitalized into whole ceramic vessels, was aesthetically appealing, made all the more so by the artist’s use of North Korean ceramic fragments imported via China. By naming this work Translated Vase, the artist induced extensibility in terms of criticism and discourse. The idea for translation originated from Yee’s work Translated Vase—Albisola, an exhibition of 12 Korean white porcelain vessels, which she had had a local potter from Albisola, Italy, make in 2001. She captured the meaning of cultural translation from the transformed white porcelain vessels made by the potter, who knew nothing about Korean ceramics. Since then, Yee has continued to present diverse versions of the Translated Vase series, following the same title and theme, translating the fragments of traditional ceramics made by professional potters, in present, contemporary contexts. The series, by bringing together through assemblage or montage the parts of ceramics that were flawed and thus destroyed, generates a metonymic significance that decodes the whole through examples of the parts, in that they are appropriations of the past, objects of fragmentary nature with retro character, accumulations and repetitions of similar units, and progressive composites. Here the differences between part and whole, waste and artwork, the daily and the artistic, are conceptualized not as “different” but as the rhetoric of translation.

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Jung Lee, Gana Art

Jung Lee has been with the gallery for over 20 years. While he was working with the gallery, he was able to develop a long and personal relationships with artists and collectors. Also, he has curated exhibitions covering various art scenes from established to emerging Korean and international artists.

Moderated by Mark Rosen, TEFAF