One of the official visits planned for this trip was a visit to ClayArch Gimhae Museum, in the south west of Korea. ClayArch is so-named due to its primary focus being architectural ceramics ‘Clay’ and ‘Arch’ for architecture. It is considered a leading institution for this form of art, hence my interest, given that this has been my area of specialism for over 20 years! Gimhae was also a site of production for the Buncheong ware of the Joseon and Gaya eras.
KyungWon and I were met at the station by Seung Taek Kim, the residency manager, and swiftly whisked off to a delicious lunch (Korean food at its best – barbecue cooked on the table in front of you) with the director of ClayArch too.
ClayArch is a huge complex, comprising of a very impressive museum building, another gallery building with multiple exhibition spaces, workshop and living quarters for artists in residence, an educational building, and the list probably goes on with further buildings I did not see.
As soon as we arrived, I was privileged to see behind the scenes in the collections room; always strange to see such remarkable and valuable works of art sitting on shelves in a storeroom! I spotted some of Kiho Kang’s work, who is showing in Made in Korea.
Then we were shown round the current exhibition, Post-Tile, which was excellent and inspiring. Mainly Korean ceramists with some international ones, and a mix of ceramics with digital media too, including some very good films showing the process behind some of the work.
Then Seung Taek took us to the residency building; fantastic equipment as one would expect, generous studio spaces in a huge warehouse style building and, upstairs, spacious rooms arranged around a common room and kitchen.
I met all the current artists in residence, who are making interesting work. The residency happens twice a year for a period of 4 months. I considered applying to make my work for the exhibition here, however the set dates did not fit my schedule and to be honest I would have found it difficult to take four months out anyway. Shame, because now I’ve been there I am very inspired to go. Maybe in the future…
The artists invited KyungWon and I out that evening. The Gimhae Buncheong Ceramics Festival was on, so we wandered around the fair and had fun.
There was some pretty hilarious(ly bad) entertainment on offer much derided by the AIRs!