Jongjin Park explores the materiality of ceramics and their ability to imitate other materials such as wood and paper. Born in Korea, Park recently came to the UK to study Ceramics, and the relationship between British and Eastern ceramic cultures. Park has worked with the relationship between paper and clay. Paperclay, a material invented to improve clay’s material properties was later used by many potters. Park takes this one step further by using and mimicking paper in clay. Slip is brushed onto fine tissues of paper and then fired at a high temperature, at over 1280 degrees centigrade, resulting in a strong, durable, wood-like material, which belies the fragile origins of the work.
Park is currently studying MA Ceramics at Cardiff Metropolitan University, following an MFA and BFA Ceramics at Kookmin University, Seoul, Korea. His exhibitions include the Santorini Biennale of Arts, Santorini, Greece, R.E.D, Arton gallery, Singapore, Color, Ceramic Museum, Korea all 2012 and The 7th Cheongju International Craft Competition, Cheongju culture complex, Korea, 2011, for which he was awarded the Gold Prize.
What is it about Young Masters that you are most interested in?
Young Masters is a big opportunity for me to exhibit my work and engage with ceramics, which are highly valued in the UK. One of the reasons that I wanted to study in the U.K. is to experience British ceramic culture.
Can you explain to us what your work is about?
My practice explores the remarkable ability of ceramics to deceive the eye. By using tissue paper and clay slip, I can make various materials looks like paper, wood and stratum. These effects meet with simple shapes and structures, contrasting with the straight porcelain. My practice asks us to think what is real? At the same time, you experience another deception ‘how was it made?’ I always enjoy the audience’s reaction to my work.
Which artist/s are you most inspired by?
The artist who gave me inspiration is Kyung Jo Roe. He was a supervisor when I was at college. He became my role model, teaching me how to reflect on the past, from traditional heritage to modern art. When I arrived in the UK I visited the V&A and The British Museum’s Korean Room, where Roe’s works are exhibited. Although Korea is far away and a different culture from the UK, his works tell a universal story. I have absorbed his many activities and artworks into my own work style and philosophy.
Can you tell us something about your background?
I was born in Korea. I decided to go to art college because of my interest in making. When I worked with ceramics for the first time, I felt it was old. After studying with ceramic history, I realized that ceramics are an important part of human history.
Also, my experience as a researcher at the National Museum of Korea gave me a direct understanding about traditional Korean ceramics.
If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
I won the Grand Prize at the 1st GwangJu Porcelain competition in 2008. This was first prize in a major competition in my career.
What are your plans for the future?
I will keep trying to discover new expressions in ceramics and to become a potter who be remembered in 21st Century ceramic history.