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EXHIBITION : September 13, 2018 — November 17, 2018.

Eunmi Kim: A Journey Home


In her first UK solo show, Eunmi Kim explores what it means to be Korean, what traditional Korean art is, and why people admire its broad outlines, randomised spontaneity, asymmetry and intuitive finishing. Kim’s journey considers the impression that JMW Turner’s paintings, the Joseon Dynasty and the Korean Moon Jar, her landscape gardener father, and her upbringing on the beautiful Jeju Island have made on her work. Using the simple, earthy and unconstrained style of traditional Korean pottery Kim creates contemporary work fit for modern life.

Kim’s childhood experiences lead her to devote her life to the study of ceramics in Korea. She worked at the Korea Ceramic Foundation as a ceramics designer, and was involved in the Korean Ceramic-ware Globalisation project, researching ceramic tableware brands around the world, before moving to London to work as a freelance ceramicist.

“Since I arrived in England in 2008, I have often been asked where I am from and what brought me here, which I have not seriously thought about. These two questions made me want to find the answers to who I am and who do I want to be.” – Kim

When Kim moved to London, the multi-cultural environment made her reflect on her roots and culture for the first time. By drawing inspiration from traditional Korean pottery and reflecting on her culture, she began to develop a style which referenced her own history – both culturally and from a uniquely personal perspective. One of her earliest influences was her father, a landscape gardener who demonstrated the beauty of nature to her as a child growing up on the idyllic Jeju Island, South Korea. The island’s unique volcanic landscape is marked with craters and caves of frozen lava tubes, and the many forests and mountains have had an important influence on the pottery Kim makes.

Kim’s style is based on Korean pottery from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), which was itself an influence on Japanese handmade pottery. This dynasty is associated with an “unconstrained lifestyle” as exemplified by the traditional ‘Korean Moon Jar’ – which shows an asymmetrical, unplanned, natural, simple and honest beauty.

The process of making each handmade piece of pottery takes more than three weeks to complete. Kim balances a mixture of experimentation, knowledge, experience, skill and patience when making each piece – resulting in completely unique pieces.

Kim has produced a collection of new work including vases, large jars and teaware for this exhibition, decorated using a traditional Joseon Buncheong ware and rustic texture inspired by her home of Jeju Island.

FREE launch preview: Thursday 13 September, 6pm – 8pm

Upcoming events:

Tuesday 25 September: Craft Unravelled, 1.00pm – 1.30pm. Join our curator on a tour of our current exhibition – ‘Eunmi Kim: A Journey Home’. FREE Register for your ticket HERE.

Tuesday 30 October: Craft Unravelled, 1.00pm – 1.30pm. Join our curator on a tour of our current exhibition – ‘Eunmi Kim: A Journey Home’. FREE Register for your ticket HERE.

This exhibition is part of Asia Triennial Manchester 2018, in partnership with Castlefield Gallery and Manchester Art Gallery.



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