November 20, 2020 - National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon - Yoo Kangyul and His Friends: Reframing Crafts
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November 20, 2020

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon

Yoo Kangyul and His Friends: Reframing Crafts.

Yoo Kangyul and His Friends: Reframing Crafts
October 15, 2020–February 28, 2021

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon
313 Gwangmyeong-ro, Gwacheon-si
13829 Gyeonggi-do
South Korea
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm,
Saturday 10am–9pm

T +82 2 2188 6000

www.mmca.go.kr
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube

Yoo Kangyul and His Friends: Reframing Crafts
October 15, 2020–February 28, 2021

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon
313 Gwangmyeong-ro, Gwacheon-si
13829 Gyeonggi-do
South Korea
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm,
Saturday 10am–9pm

T +82 2 2188 6000

www.mmca.go.kr
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube

Yoo Kangyul, Lee Jungseob, Chung Kyu, Paik TaeWon, Choi Seung Chun, Lee Youngsoon and other 19 artists

In commemoration of what would be the 100th birthday of Yoo Kangyul (1920-1976), this exhibition spotlights the life and works of the artist, educator and producer who sublimated Korean traditional aesthetics into the realm of contemporary form. The exhibition also explores the plastic arts of modern Korea-particularly crafts from the 1950s through 1970s- through the work and activities of Yoo’s friends and protégés.

Yoo Kangyul is a figure who devised and put into motion a new order for the fine arts, crafts, and design during the rapidly changing post-war restoration era. As a textile craftsman and a first-generation modern printmaker, Yoo became one of prominent figures in contemporary art at both home and abroad, producing remarkable works of art. He was also an educator and activist who laid a foundation for the further development of modern Korean crafts and design. Moreover, he pioneered the integration of architecture, design, and crafts by participating in architectural projects as the interior designer, including for the National Assembly Building, National Museum of Korea, and Seoul Children’s Grand Park.

Yoo Kangyul and His Friends: Reframing Crafts traces the course of Yoo’s career and the development of Korean craft and art in three parts: “Craft as a Medium for Post-War Restoration,” “Towards a New Order of Objects,” and “The Practice of Composition as a Principle of Plastic Arts.”

Part 1, “Craft as a Medium for Post-War Restoration,” surveys Yoo’s craft and art works that sought to rise above the ruins of the war that devoured the 1950s. Together with najeon (mother-of-pearl inlay) master Kim Bongryong, Yoo established and operated the Mother-of-pearl Inlaid Lacquerware with Training Institute of Gyeongsangnam-do Province(1951) to foster contemporary craftsmasters with background knowledge on traditional craft. Also, Yoo and Chung Kyu worked as research instructors at the Korean Plastic Arts Research Institute of the current National Museum of Korea to seek revival of Korean craft and promotion of print art.

Part 2, “Towards a New Order of Objects,” focuses on Yoo’s careers as a plastic artist and an educator. Yoo had an experience of the art education and scene of New York through a study abroad opportunity sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1958. This section features Yoo’s collection of printed materials documentative of American art at the time along with Yoo’s print works produced using newly acquired techniques of etching, lithography, and silkscreen. Also he went onto serve as the head of the craft department at Hongik University, where he constructed a Korean crafts and design education system infused with key values of Korean traditional craft.

Part 3, “The Practice of Composition as a Principle of Plastic Arts,” illuminates the concept of “composition” that Yoo defined as the artistic act of organically harmonizing not only technologies, but also imagination. From 1970s, his interest in traditional culture became further concretized and expanded beyond the realm of plastic arts and into collection traditional daily objects. The architectural decoration that Yoo contributed began to employ shapes and patterns inspired by his acquisitions but reframed by a modern sense of aesthetics as did his prints and textile works. This perspective on art was applied and expanded in the education of his pupils, and moreover serves as the basis for the production of works of our time.

The exhibition also features seven antique artworks from Yoo’s private collection along with some 160 pieces of archival materials. Premiered in this exhibition are printed materials from exhibitions illustrative of the 1950s art scene selected from among some 3,000 pieces of archival materials donated to the MMCA’s Art Research Center by Yoo’s wife, Jang Jung-soon and his pulpil, Shin Yongok in 2014.

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