Monday, August 10, 2009

Lim Moo Keun 임무근

In the past 15 years Lim Moo Kuen has set himself the task of expressing his Christian beliefs in his ceramic sculpture. Although an occasional cross or crown of thorn can be glimpsed he has spent a great deal of thought attempting to find a way of conveying faith through the depiction of rocks. Portraying Jacob’s stone pillow on which he dreamed during his nights in the desert is straightforward but it is more difficult to depict the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman. Lim Moo Kuen’s solution is to offer a rocklike form with two brightly colored pebbles representing Jesus and the woman with a square recess as the well by which they met. The same metaphor of pebbles representing people placed within cracks or hollows of larger rocks symbolizing faith crops up in many other of his recent works.

Yet these recent religiously oriented works are not the sum total of Lim Moo Kuen’s art career. As a young university student in the years after the cease fire of the Korean War, he turned from his initial love of painting to the field of applied art. Although he was trained in metalworking, textile processes and woodworking it was clay that inspired him. At that time his university as with most other Korean universities had no kiln and so he traveled to the traditional potters village of Icheon south of Seoul to learn ceramic techniques and participate in firing the wood kilns. After graduation he began teaching at Seoul Women’s University and produced a large body of work which explored various glaze effects on vessel forms. The seductive beauty of crystalline glazes gave way to a somber palette of darker glazes which he applied to large slab built sculpture with spiky protrusions.

Talking with Lim Moo Kuen in the office which he had recently vacated after his retirement from the teaching position which he had held for 3 decades a sense of the pleasure he felt in his years of working and traveling abroad quickly emerges. On the occasion of his 60th birthday his students past and present had organized an exhibition in his honor. Their faces in the back of the catalog evoke memories that temper the regret all teachers feel at the time teaching takes from their artistic career. Now the retired professor looks forward to time in the small studio which he has set up ten minutes from the campus.


Emeritus Professor Seoul Womans University

M.Ed graduate School, Seoul National University

BFA Seoul National Univesity


2001 Contemporary Korean Ceramics


2001 Seoul Contemporary Ceramic Arts Contest

2000 The Ceramic Exhibition 2000 Korea

1999 Cheongju International Craft Biennale ‘99

1998 Seoul Craft Exhibition

1997 Seoul Ceramic Art Biennale

1994 Contemporary Korean Ceramics, San Diego NCECA


Address: 674-108 Chang-dong, Dobong-ku, Seoul, 132-042, South Korea

Tel: Office:+82(country code).02.970.5736, Fax:+82.02.970.5731, Home:+82.02.922.8530, C.P:+82.(0)10.4717.8530




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