Grand bol en céramique punch'ŏng
Shin Gyung-kyun, like many contemporary Korean ceramicists, reappropriates ancient techniques to produce his works.
Since the Koryŏ period (918-1392), Korean ceramicists have invented new decorative processes, while drawing inspiration from Chinese forms and techniques, thus creating their own aesthetic differing from both Chinese and Japanese tradition. Among their greatest inventions are celadons with inlaid decoration, punch'ǒng stoneware, which derived from them, and porcelain moon jars, which have become a symbol of national identity in the Korean peninsula.
Many contemporary ceramicists are proud of this history and attached to values that are based less on breaking with tradition than with cultural continuity, and continue to this day to produce pieces that assert this heritage. Shin Gyung-kyun (born 1964) is among them. His work reappropriates and reinterprets ancient techniques and forms that are characteristic of the ceramic ware of his native Korea, as illustrated by this piece inspired by Korean punch'ǒng pottery.
The use of an irregularly applied coating of light-coloured engobe has clear precedents in the ceramics of the first half of the Chosǒn period (1392-1910). Yet the application of this slip by means of broad strokes of the brush and with the artist’s fingers introduces a discreet touch of modernity in the bowl’s decoration. Furthermore, while the form of this vessel is similar to that of the conical-bellied bowls produced previously, its very large size renders it useless reflects the new status of this ceramic tradition, where formerly utilitarian objects have become collection pieces sold in galleries.