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A peaceful retreat from urban life

June 09,2018
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The Lotte Gallery inside the Lotte Department Store in Anyang, Gyeonggi, is hosting artist Kappao’s “Little Forest” exhibition through June 24. Above are ceramic dolls, ceramic stools behind and illustrations on ceramic by Kappao. [LOTTE GALLERY]
Ceramic dolls sit quietly with expressionless faces, staring into the distance with their heads bigger than their bodies and thin limbs dangling down like children tired after running around all day. At the “Little Forest” exhibit, featuring some 70 ceramic works and illustrations by artist Kappao, visitors may feel an odd sense of peace while looking at the day-dreaming eyes of the cute figurines.

The “Little Forest” exhibition, held on the seventh floor gallery of Lotte Department Store in Anyang, Gyeonggi, will run through June 24.

The artist, whose real name is Ko Myung-shin, majored in sociology at university. Using lessons she learned about living among other people in modern society, she created a comforting atmosphere inside the gallery. In an effort to console the busy and stressed minds of the urban dwellers, Kappao creates a peaceful garden of her imagination, where people are allowed to sit and take a deep and comfortable breath in. Take some time to walk around the gallery, stand in front of the works and then sit on the ceramic stools also created by the artist, all in the quiet of her little forest.

Most of her ceramic dolls take on the figure of a person, but without a clear depiction of gender, age or other characteristics that may allude to their identities.

“Artist Kappao’s works look away from the audience instead of looking straight at them, in a similar manner [to the way that] people in modern society look away from each other and hide their thoughts,” said curator Kim Hyun-kyung of Lotte Gallery. “It is the artist’s illustration of modern day people, and it allows for the audience to connect with the works, and feel as if they are sitting quietly in the little forest, just like the dolls.”

While many ceramic artists put emphasis on the different styles of glaze to create different effects, and even invent their very own chemicals to achieve the best outcome, Kappao’s dolls and ceramic installations are all about form. Some have been glazed, while some are not, but this does not matter in defining Kappao’s works as unique and creative. Curator Kim describes the artist as “an illustrator who works in a 3-dimensional form.”

“The exhibition takes the form of someone’s secret garden, where there are birds, dogs, trees, people and houses. The figurines sit there in a playful manner, as if children’s toys are scattered in the room after they play with them. Through that, visitors can feel the pure emotions of a child and the energy of their youth away from the complicated realities that exist outside the exhibition.”

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