Monday, August 24, 2009

Jahng Soo Hong 장수홍


Jahng Soo Hong is carving with a chain saw when we first meet him. Maybe this isn’t exactly a ceramic activity (except for those who fire wood kilns) but Jahng Soo Hong sees his wood carving as a natural outgrowth of his exploration of form in ceramic sculpture. “Besides” he says “I was bored after my last exhibition and couldn’t touch more clay”. Even though Seoul National University where he teaches is an urban school the bucolic campus (a former country club) provides more than enough downed trees for both his sculpture and for the school’s wood kiln firings. Seeing that immense woodpile stacked next to the ceramic studio started him off on his dual course of sculptural exploration.


It wasn’t always clear that he would have the freedom to pursue his artistic inclinations. Born in a far southern province of Korea and raised in the port city of Busan he was destined for a career at sea before he rebelled and made his way to Seoul to pursue art studies much against his parents wishes. In his third year of undergraduate study he chose ceramics over metalworking as his area of concentration and received first his BFA and then his MFA from Seoul National University. After receiving his second MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology in the US he returned to Korea in 1988 to teach at Seoul National University.


His work in ceramics is mostly sculptural with a trend towards large round or ovaloid shapes studded with conical protrusions which totally cover the form. On the desk in his office sits a miniature soccer ball covered with marks and measurements which help him to visualize the regular placement of cones on a sphere. Some of his other shapes have a more organic feel with similar but slightly irregular tendrils rearing up from a central shape. One of his wood sculptures also explores the possibilities of covering a sphere with conic protrusions and he comments on how much more difficult it is to form the shape in wood than clay.


At age 60 Jahng Soo Hong looks forward to the next decade and his probable retirement with a slightly bemused air, mentioning his love of clay, woodworking, and gardening and wonders how he will manage to combine all three into a new avenue of investigation.


EDUCATION

M.F.A. in Ceramics, Rochester Institute of Technology, New York, U.S.A.

M.F.A. in Ceramics, Seoul National University, Seoul, SK

B.F.A. in Ceramics, Seoul National University, Seoul, SK


Present Professor of Art Department, Seoul National University


CONTACT INFORMATION

Office: Seoul National University Art Department, San 56-1, Shinrim-dong, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 151-742, South Korea 

Home:  11 Bongchun-dong, Apt. Eunchun 205-804, Gwanak-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Tel: +82(country code).02.880.7502

E-mail: shjahng@snu.ac.kr

Website: kcaf.or.kr/art500/jahngsoohong

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