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KCDF exhibit is all about the journey

Sept 23,2017
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The “How We Enjoy Crafts” exhibition on display at the KCDF Gallery. [YOON SO-YEON]
Before a work of art is put on display at an exhibition, days of hard work are put into creating the artist’s masterpiece. To bring light to the hard work behind a masterpiece, Korea Craft & Design Foundation (KCDF) presents “How We Enjoy Crafts” - a look, or rather a listen, into what happens inside an actual craft workshop, at the KCDF Gallery in Insa-dong, central Seoul, until Oct. 15.

Enjoying crafts is typically considered a visual experience, usually in exhibitions that display delicate pieces made out of glass, paper, wood or metal. In this exhibition, KCDF takes the visitors to a further realm of sensation, the auditory world. By showing the viewers through sound, video and the equipment used in making the end result, visitors get a multi-sensory experience of artwork that they had only seen the visual side of previously.

On the second floor of the gallery are works using five different materials - glass, metal, bamboo strips, paper and ceramics - each by a different group. Entering the exhibition hall, visitors see a dark room with different sounds coming from speakers playing the noises made during the manipulation of the different materials. For instance, the glass section plays the sound of the artist blowing the heated glass into the wanted shape, while in the ceramics section, people can hear the sounds of the ceramics cracking as they are cooled down straight after they were cooked in the furnace. The sounds may be audible away from the speakers, but visitors are encouraged to stand right beneath the speakers of each section, as it gives the maximum sense of reality.

Also on display are videos created by KCDF that have captured the working process of the artists or stories of the people touched by the craftwork. Seeing how the metal is heated, cooled, shaped then heated repeatedly gives the viewers a deeper appreciation of the final product.

“There arises a difference in the point of view between the creator of the craft and the audience,” said Kim Tae-hwan, curator of the exhibition. “We wanted to show both perspectives of the maker and the viewer. So on the one hand, we captured the auditory sense made in the workplace of the craftsmen, and how their hard work is turned into joy after they see their final work. On the other hand, we wanted to give an opportunity for the viewers to open their sense and imagine what it’s like to be in the actual work process.”

The third floor of the gallery focuses more on the actual crafted pieces that are used in people’s everyday lives, but are easily taken for granted. By showing the crafted pieces in an environment similar to a household, visitors get a broader sense of what craft is, and the range of items that it includes.

Other things to see include a video of a restaurant using crafted ceramics to serve food, giving their guests a special night out, and the “Window Gallery” in the basement of the building, which is a massive archive of materials that are used by craftsmen.

“You can see the process, hear the sounds and learn the equipment behind a work a craft,” said curator Kim. “We hope that the visitors open their senses and see more than the superficial end works of craft.”

BY YOON SO-YEON [yoon.soyeon@joongang.co.kr]



KCDF Gallery is a 10-minute walk from Anguk station, line No. 3, exit 6. For more information, visit www.kcdf.kr or call (02) 732-9382.