The post interviewed Yoo Hwa-soo, who participated in the 2010 biennial special art exhibition in Gwangju. The special art exhibition introduces young asian artists who are under 40. The exhibition was held from September 1st to September 5th, 2010 at the Kimdaejung Convention Center.
Yoo Hwa-soo displayed five pieces of his work at the EAA (Emerging Asian Artists) area. The EAA area is reserved for 30 young asian artists who have created and contributed to the advancement of Asian contemporary art. Yoo Hwa-soo graduated from the Department of Sculpture at DU and took time out of his busy schedule for this interview.
Yoo will have his private exhibition shown from December 1st through December 21st this year at the Chunggae Art Studio. He will also have a sculpture from his private exhibition installed in the Cheonggyecheon (the cheonggye stream) on October 3rd, 2010. The name of the sculpture is Dolce Vita, which is the theme of his work and means "sweet life".
The Post went to Yoo's studio located in Euljiro 3-ga for an in-depth interview. Yoo shared his story about his exhibition and also talked about his current activities.
Q. Please explain the Gwangju Biennial Exhibition.
The Gwangju Biennial Exhibition (GBE) is held every two years. Most of the artists in exhibition are from foreign countries. GBE has a general exhibition in which leading contemporary galleries from all over the globe participate and introduce contemporary artwork by various artists. However, this year GBE had a special exhibition in which works by asian artists under 40 were introduced and displayed.
Q. Tell us how you got involved in the GBE.
I received a phone call from Lee Eun-ha, a curator who took part in an EAA exhibition. She had seen one of my exterior exhibitions and gave me a call to see if would be interested in having my work displayed at the GBE on September 1st. I was able to exhibit my art at the GBE because I was preparing for my private exhibition in December of this year. My exhibition at the GBE could not have happened if I had not been preparing for my private exhibition in December. I got the phone call a month before the biennial exhibition and by then my artwork was already finished.
Q. What are the works you displayed at the GBE?
I displayed three pieces of artwork. They are dolce vita-dressing table-, dolce vita-flower pot-, and dolce vita-desk lamp lighting-. Steel is the medium I use most for my work, including the works displayed for both my private exhibition and the GBE. The technique I use is steel welding. I do not buy pure steel, but instead use ready-made articles that are used for other purposes and process them.
Q. Could you tell us about your impression on the GBE and its atmosphere?
I was pleased to see all the works in person that I would normally only see in books and catalogues. Many of the works in the exhibition were images. When we see these works in books we only see still images, we cannot see the whole piece of artwork. However, at the biennial I could see the whole image with my own eyes. It was very meaningful to me. Although It took me four hours to go to Gwangju and eleven hours to return to Seoul by car, it was well worth it.
Q. Do you have any other memorable exhibition experiences?
An exhibition named "start of the love" could was a memorable one. That exhibition was about three months ago and I felt emotionally free because I worked with my people I was close to.
Q. What made you to become an artist and what is your view of art?
Artists are wonderful. I always wanted to be an artist since my freshman year at Dongguk University. The path to become an artist was long and difficult for me. My view of art is to make familiar things unfamiliar. In other words, I always want my artwork to express a subject that is common to most people and change it so that it becomes unfamiliar. For example, I have lots of road signs which are commonly viewed in daily life. However, when I change them into a tree shape, the road signs become an unfamiliar subject for viewers. This corresponds to my view of art.
Q. How did you make a space for your workshop?
I am funded by the Seoul Metropolitan Facilities Management Corporation. They select five artists and give them aid in the form of a free studio, funds up to 10 million won, and all the equipments they need to create their art. There are six corporations in Korea that support Korean artists and the competition to gain their support is quite intense. These companies select about one out of thirty or forty artists.
Q. What kind of student were you and how did you study?
I was a model student (laughing)... I only studied my major and didn't get very good grades in my other classes. I went out a lot to see exhibitions when I was an undergraduate student. I didn't really read related publications very much, but I got a chance to read many books when I went to graduate school. Skills are important during the undergraduate years and skill is needed in the sculpture department. Because of this, I put a lot of effort in to gaining experience and learning the proper methods to handle materials when I was a senior. In my graduate school years I learned how to use my knowledge and skills in order to express my thoughts through my work.
Q. Do you have a role models? And what do you do to emulate them?
I don't really have a role model, but I watch many different artists and see what kind of techniques they use and I appreciate their work. I've seen many works by an artist named Bae Young Hwan, a famous installation artist. I strive to become a more distinguished artist by studying and viewing works by various famous artists
Q. Please tell us about your future plans and give a word of advice to the students of the DU Sculpture Department.
My debut is much occurring much later than my peers. My private exhibition in December is my first private exhibition. I would like to become an artist who shows different art work to viewers every year and always continue moving forward. The hard work is in trying to continue to grow and change and to try new things. I would like to advise the students in the Sculpture Department to continue dreaming of becoming an artist and to never give up. Lastly, take pride in your school and enjoy your time at Dongguk University.
Noh Yoo-ra firstname.lastname@example.org
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