Art market Magazine December 2015

 
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Land of the Morning Calm 
o fully appreciate…
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Land of the Morning Calm
o fully appreciate the section of the exhibition "Korea Now!" dedicated to design and crafts, you need to leave a number of Western assumptions in the
cloakroom. Firstly, there is no room for industrial design, even in a country where multinationals like Samsung and LG are inundating the planet with high-tech products. In the short film that goes with the exhibition, designers' views are frank: its coldness breaks the relationship between user and designer. So in Korea, design takes poetic and intimate forms. Next, forget the modern principle that design always breaks with tradition. "With no past, there is no present" is the saying you should keep in mind as you stroll around the large hall of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and its adjoining rooms… And it holds true for the selection of around a hundred artists, many of whom were born in the 1980s, and are thus open to highly specialised innovations as well. According to Karine Lacquemant, one of the two curators of this design and craft section, "You can see that young designers are in an experimental phase. There is past and future, East and West – a mixture of everything. It was hard to make a selection, because there were so many

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possible artists, all very different. I think this is explained by the very chequered history of this country, which is now more liberated and wants to branch out in every direction." The most unrestrained selection is unquestionably the one devoted to jewellery, which features a vocabulary of somewhat organic, highly varied forms, and surprising materials such as Velcro, literally transfigured by Kim Yong-joo. To quote Karine Lacquemant, "Jewellery is not subservient to tradition. Because of the use of the hanbok, a long dress with a full skirt that covers the whole body, there is no jewellery culture, as in the West. It is limited to the chignon comb and the norigae, the equivalent of the Japanese inro." The majority of jewellers come from Kookmin University, a school with a glowing reputation in the field of applied arts.

Poetic and spiritual
After the Japanese occupation, the division of the country and the Korean War (1950-1953), the arts and crafts industry was incorporated into the university system to promote traditional culture. State diplomas for arts and crafts were introduced in the Sixties, as was the

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View of the exhibition, "Korea Now! Design, craft, mode et graphisme en Corée ", Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

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Art Market Magazine December 2015
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