Young Masters: Focus on Ceramics|Sun Ae Kim

Sun Ae Kim, Pardon Me There is a football Match tonight, 45x30cm, 2014, porcelain, 45x30x4cm , photo by Soon Hak Kwon

Sun Ae Kim, Pardon Me There is a football Match tonight, 45x30cm, 2014, porcelain, 45x30x4cm , photo by Soon Hak Kwon

Sun Ae Kim’s practice uses ceramic figurines to investigate the narratives of everyday life. This investigation is informed by the history of English figurine, which has a long tradition of reflecting images from everyday life and social concerns at the time of their production. Recently, she has examined the ways in which English ceramic figurines captured images of everyday life throughout history. Kim then extended this research into an interpretation of contemporary everyday life through ceramics. Her current work considers the history of figurine production and its retrospective application in contemporary practice.

Sun Ae Kim is a Korean ceramic artist currently based in London.  She recently completed her MA in 2010 and her MPhil in 2014, both in Ceramics and Glass at the Royal college of Art.  She gained her BA in Ceramics at the Hong Ik University, Seoul in 2007.  Her exhibitions include: Quotidian: encounter of everyday (solo show), Mokspace, London, New Beginnings, Nantgarw China Works Museum, Wales, Petrie Museum exhibition 2014, White Winter, Ngallery, South Korea, 2013, Ceramics Illustrated, Ruthin Craft Centre, Wales, Kyeonggi International Ceramic Biennial, Icheon, South Korea, 2013, and London Calling, Orange County Centre for Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2012.  She also featured in Young Masters Revisited in 2010, and the Young Masters Tour in 2013. Kim has been nominated for numerous awards and has undertaken residencies in the UK and South Korea.


What is it about Young Masters that you are most interested in?


I am interested in how Young Masters celebrates the art history in contemporary art and the importance of the Old Masters’ influence on young artists.

Can you explain to us what your work is about?


My current studio practice investigates contemporary narratives of everyday life captured through ceramic figurines that are informed by English precedents. They are such as luxurious porcelain figurine from the eighteenth century and  Staffordshire earthenware figurines from the nineteenth century in England. Having evaluated the subject matters of figurines throughout English history, I found that they often were the image of everyday life; they portray people’s pastime and behaviours, and reflect social history. Through my research, I adapted my investigation to explore how contemporary everyday life can be interpreted visually through ceramics. My work considers the history of figurine

production and its retrospective application in contemporary practice.


Which artist/s are you most inspired by?


I am inspired by the eighteenth and nineteenth century – English ceramic modellers and unknown potters. They were hidden artisans in large factories. Seeking the stories behind those skillful works inspired me in my studio.

Can you tell us something about your background?

I completed my B.F.A in ceramics and glass in Hong-ik University in Korea, after then I moved to London to study at the Royal College of Art.  I am generally a culturally-driven person – this new cultural experience living in the UK has enriched my studio work.

What inspired you to become an artist?

I was born and grown up most of my life in Korea. When I was young I learnt about Korean celadon wares which tradition lost track of.  I wanted to be an artist so that I could try to restore the heritage of Korean ceramics. I was only seven-years old and naïve, but that motivation makes me keep going.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?

I dreamed of becoming an artist since I was at seven. During my childhood, I was also interested in history and archeology. Maybe I would be an art historian.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

The greatest achievement as an artist so far is to become confident in self-critique.  I have become an artist researcher as well as a practitioner.

What are your plans for the future?

I would like to develop my practice and business as a professional artist. I have upcoming shows both in Korea and the UK.





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