Perceiving the rate at which time is passing can be beautiful or painful. The unique sensation often reveals itself when performing tedious tasks. You know… like writing 75 Christmas cards, chopping garlic into the tiniest of pieces, waxing a car, or organizing years of accumulated loose change. Some people find these tasks cathartic and some find them torturous – ceramic artist Jo Won Jae revels in tedium.
The Seoul, Korea-based artist has been making strides in contemporary ceramics winning gold prize in the prestigious Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale in 2017, participating in the Taiwan Ceramics Biennale Competition (2016), and in the Gold Coast International Ceramic Art Award (2016). The 28-year-old received her BA from Korea National University of Arts in 2013.
Jae wants you to feel a little more human when experiencing her work. Her process projects a visceral sensation of passing time – frozen in cold white porcelain. The work teases the viewer with impossibly thin forms, tempting the them to embrace the meditation in tedium or crush the work out of frustration with a swift clench of a fist. The simplicity and elegance, though, encourage an appreciation for the hours spent carving – not anger. It encourages attention to detail, patience, and meditation – traits that Korea is known for and America lacks. Jae’s pots are ambassadors of mindfulness.
In the 30th Gold Coast International Ceramic Art Award Catalog, Jae explains:
“Small sharp pieces are repeated to create texture on the surface of the porcelain vessels. During this process I examine carefully, touching the surface like a poet reads intervals between words, lines, and paragraphs.”
The translucency of the porcelain allows the viewer to see inside the material like observing glowing fingertips over a flashlight. And while the material itself mimics the the ability to see slightly underneath skin, the vessel’s texture mimics the detail on the surface.