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Korean Contemporary Design

Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art (ETNFA) announces Korean Contemporary Design: Kang Myung Sun, Bae Se Hwa, Bahk Jong Sun, and Lee Hun Chung in an exhibition of objects and furniture. Korea’s top designers incorporate tradition, craft and a reverence for raw materials in their works while being absolutely contemporary in function and feel. The exhibition will be on view from February 26th through April 4th, 2014, with an opening reception on Wednesday, February 26th from 6PM – 8PM.

The appetite for Korean contemporary design has expanded globally in the last five years, with celebrated collectors of both design and modern and contemporary art embracing the movement. Sculptural, graceful and functional, the works in this exhibition would be home in a range of environments, from traditional to contemporary.

The star designers featured in the show create works that feature cutting edge contemporary design while embracing the cultural traditions of Korea. They draw enormous inspiration from nature, which is reflected in the forms and textures of their work, many of which emulate figures or landscapes or suggest the colors of a particular season.

Kang Myung Sun harmoniously combines age-old techniques and unique materials to create practical objects that address modern concerns. By revitalizing traditional craftsmanship, such as two-thousand-year-old lacquering methods paired with inlaid mother-of-pearl, Kang creates elegant and visually dynamic functional works, including seating, tables and shelving, that suggest landscapes of shimmering waves.

Bae Se Hwa’s use of wood relates directly to the influence of nature in his work. He is inspired by the traditional Korean interpretation of beauty as the harmony of nature, and seeks to convey a sense of calmness and peace through his designs. His furniture resembles the Korean landscape and mountains through their organic shapes and curved wood, reinforcing his desire to create a conversation between man and nature, inside and outside. He has refined and perfected a steam-bending technique that allows him to create works of exceptional scale, including two large benches that will be featured in this show.

The thoughtful and transformative use of natural materials play a crucial role in conveying the history and philosophy of traditional and contemporary Korean design. The works of Bahk Jong Sun, created in woods such as cherry, beech and oak, often resemble whimsical structures or otherworldly creatures that emanate light from their spider-like frames. His limited edition desk and wall-mounted shelving have minimal, elegantly architectural forms that reveal traditional lacquer work and the rich graining of the wood.

Devoted to Korean ceramic design techniques, Lee Hun Chung strives to find a balance of tradition and modernity in his works. Using a kiln technique dating back hundreds of years, Lee seeks to keep his work honest, as well as show respect for traditional processes and craftsmanship. Mirroring the colors and forms of nature, the seemingly chaotic patterns of his work contradict his careful, painterly control of palette that can be seen on closer observation. In Lee’s hands, the solid ceramics, as well as other materials, take on a soft, almost cloud-like character. In addition to ceramics, Lee incorporates cement to create structural works such as benches, tables, and functional installations. Lee’s most recent cement works are combined with ceramic, wood, and corroded steel to show the extension of their function and usage in architectural terms.