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Viaje del Tiempo
06 May - 24 June 2018
Traditional decorative arts, shapes and forms speak more than writings and speeches, which are deemed as the most effective means of communication: they provide a glimpse into the history of human beings who have endlessly adopted themselves to the society and environment of their time, and possess even more philosophies and beliefs than what meets the eye. Decorative arts and crafts embody a blend of everyday practicality and aesthetic sensibilities rooted in tradition, and the aesthetic sensibilities project Korea’s philosophies and worldviews, sometimes serving as an indicator for the degree of cultural and technical advancement of the society.
Koreans classify objects as those for objects; for the nature; and for humans. That is because different materials and techniques are employed according to the purpose of the object, and the most adequate manufacturing methodology for that very functionality of the object is chosen. Over time, objects have been lost, retained or restored repeatedly, and the profound aesthetics embedded in each of the objects have struck a balance with the functionality of the objects.
In order to understand and identify the functionality, aesthetic considerations and the symbolic implications of Korean objects, it is essential for the maker and the user to have a common experience and awareness of the object. To help art enthusiasts in Spain understand Korea’s philosophies and worldview built on the traditional culture, we seek to share our perspectives towards time manifested by Korean arts and crafts, amongst various means of sculptural expression and symbolism, through the Korean Crafts Exhibition in the National Museum of Decorative Arts in Spain.
The Time of Nature
Korean arts and crafts in general exhibit fear and respect for the nature, as well as the maker’s wisdom and experience which translate into uniquely Korean aesthetic sensibilities that wonderfully blend in with the nature. To communicate an indescribably captivating experience, aesthetic sensibilities are intended to blend in with the environment and the properties of time-tested materials. The patient endurance required for a raw material to become a part of life has united the human with the nature, through the wisdom and skills of artists.
The Time of Human
Skills and techniques that had been passed down for generations have given insights to practitioners on how to make the most adequate objects and tools according to their material properties. To add practicality to objects, it was essential to understand properties of each of the materials surrounding our environment. Also, the latest technology of the time had to be selectively incorporated to add an extra touch of aesthetics. The craftsmanship required to create such an art object required time for an individual to learn. Objects, created with such artistry, have seamlessly become a part of our life as an intangible asset worthy of preservation.
The Time of Objects
For a raw material to be shaped by human hands and become an phenomenon that blends in with people’s everyday life, it may require a long period of creative process. However, it may also take a short period of time through effective productions. Some artists may choose to make the least intervention to an object to emphasize its natural, time-tested materiality, whereas others may choose to take blocks of time, which is characterized by repetitions, rules, harmony, variations, technical reproduction, to complete an object, using a broad array of materials that are either found nearby (e.g. grass, trees, scrap paper) or used for industrial purposes (e.g. polyethylene, carbon fiber, optical fiber). Such time-intensive objects, born after a protracted period of time, evoke warmth, passion and inspirations of time.