Kelsie Rudolph here – one of the 2018 WMAA recipients. This grant made it possible for me to travel to South Korea to work with artist and designer Hun Chung Lee. As one of the most important contemporary artists here in South Korea, he is widely recognized for his ceramic furniture and business Bada Design Atelier. I met Hun Chung a few years ago through a recommendation by my professor Josh DeWeese. At the end of my short stay at his home/studio he offered me a job, to come stay and work after I graduated. So here I am two years later! It’s been an incredible first few weeks of work and travel with a few more to go.
During my first two weeks here, we were working on some commissions and small design objects. Hun Chung has two other assistants working in the studio who have been here for two years, so they are there to help guide me as we go along. The first week was consumed by a plate order for a restaurant – 100 square slab plates.
While we were executing the plates, Hun Chung was designing a sushi plate set that consisted of historical and referential forms like ink stone grinders and daikon or root grinders as well as two other more formal objects. This production consumed the second week of work and rolled right into the third.
We then began making large slabs to construct a large chair, or couch for one person as he likes to call it.
The chair is nearly completed within a few short days and will be finished by Monday.
Hun Chung is one of my favorite artists and designers so it is a complete honor to be here working in his studio. It is a large compound with his home and large gallery space attached. It is up on the side of a mountain in Yangpyeong.
This is an incredible, fully tiled ceramic room that he and his assistants constructed over the course of a few months. It is an insane experience. I will try to get some better images and possibly a video of it, but as you can imagine the experience is difficult to capture.
Although I came here to learn technique and skill for large-scale handbuilding, we have been talking a lot more of the importance of leading a life in the arts, and enjoying the work that you engage in by enjoying the life you lead first. It’s been really motivating to watch in the studio as he moves gracefully from vessels to sculpture to large scale furniture. It’s crucial to his practice that he is mobile between these objects, as he comes back to each with a refreshed sense of what he has to offer and what he needs to be doing as an artist. I will touch more on this in the final post while I take more time to talk with him and try to understand more fully what it all means, to him and to me.
My next post will consist more of the bits of travel, studio, and museum visits that I am able to do on the weekends, so stay tuned!
And please take a peak at his website to find more finished pieces as I'm not sure I will be here to see the chair to its fully finished form - www.leehunchung.com