Craft jumps out of the box in South Korea



The 2009 Cheongju International Craft Biennale under its current director Dr. Ihnbum Lee seeks to position craft broadly within the arts as a unifying element. Ihnbum Lee claims that various art forms have been ‘boxed in’ to separate disciplines, making it difficult to experience their common nature. For Lee, craft offers an alternative to the commodification that has both put the planet in peril and separated arts from themselves. Craft in this biennale is engaged in ‘a search for meaning in a tortuous era’.

So how will craft connect with other art forms, such as dance, music and poetry? The Biennale contains several elements:

  • Pressing matter, a craft exhibition that feature works which diffuse energy and include diverse perspectives of producer and consumer, youth and maturity, the egalitarian and the elite, the classical and the romantic, the developed and the developing world
  • Dissolving views, a space for connecting object with performance
  • The river within us the sea all around us, whose title is borrowed from T.S. Elliot’s Four Quartets, is a community arts program with the citizens of Cheongju
  • Canadian guest pavilion
  • International symposium on 24 September with 14 craft scholars

Of particular interest is the way these themes have an underlying poetic vision, associating the object with flows of nature in particular. This suggests the possibility of a uniquely Korean perspective on modern craft.

It seems important in an event with such a substantial vision for craft that there is an open dialogue to reflect on what emerges from this event. Travel has become less possible for many people, but the organisers are trying to attract craft practitioners with a Home Stay program (details on the website).

So what will emerge when craft springs out of the box? Jack in the box? Pandora’s box? We look with interest.

4 thoughts on “Craft jumps out of the box in South Korea”

  1. Do you think it is easier for countires with a long and venerated history of craft to hold events like this because they dont ever have to pose the questions about crafts relevency because it is so much a part of the fabric of their respective cultures?

  2. Interesting. I think there is some justification of craft in the program, but you’re right that it seems to go with the flow of craft experience a little more. With a free home stay, let’s hope that someone can go and let us know how it turns out.

    I already hear that Vipoo Srivalasa is going up to be part of the Pressing Matter exhibition, where he will perform one of his dinner parties.

  3. Hi. I am yuni who in charge of PR Division of Cheongju International craft Biennale 2009, South Korea.
    We have 6th Biennale this year which will held 23rd Sep ~ 1st Nov.2009.
    When you have a look our website you can find it is crafts not only fabric. Ramona.. have you visited our country?
    Have you participated our biennale?
    We offer free accoomodation (if you are an Artist) and meal.
    come and enjoy our Biennale.


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