BIEN GALLERY, Seoul
Myung Nam An is a ceramic artist, born in South Korean, based in London for 12 years and relocated to Miami recently. Anʼs incredibly intricate and detailed ceramics are beautiful, bright, colourful, exciting, funky and very desirable.
“Since 2005, living in London, the fact that I am alone is a throbbing job, a gigantic freedom, a shock to a strange culture, and a sense of heterogeneity from the barrier of language, these emotions in my work are symbolized by universal symbols such as 'Eye' And these stories tell someone who creates another story to tell their story. The brilliant colour of my work is reflected in the visual characteristics of contemporary culture by using diverse and colourful colours in London's diverse races and cultures and the world's cultural capital where more than 300 languages are used. Which is a somewhat conservative challenge to the ceramic arts here.
“My work is the human being and their everyday life. I find ceramic to be the most suitable material to express my ideas. The characteristics and limitations of the materials are a fundamental issue for me and my process is one based on analysis and experience. I approach my work in both a formal and aesthetic way. That does not mean that emotionality and sensuality are set aside — on the contrary.
“These pieces evoke cool expression with sensitive undertones and there by join an abstract, new formalistic movement in contemporary art. I am a fan of Alexander McQueen, encasing my circular forms in extravagant and impossible costumes. Why Eyes? I use my work to express my emotions without using single world. As human eye, everyone's eye is slightly different and special in its own way. Looking at person's eye you may understand more about people' personality or life or love.
"It has always been my goal as an artist to make work that speaks to the viewer on a deeper level and provokes thought.”
— Myung Nam An
Jeong Yun Choi: Historically in Asia, a sword has been associated with human desire, being an auspicious object belonging to an aristocrat. Throughout history, it has become an icon of power. During the past 10 years, I have endeavored to analyze the historical context of the sword in human civilization. My works have been efforts to reveal the futility of human desires through the manifestation of swords in various visual vocabularies.
I started my process of converting the materiality of the sword into historical context by using ceramics. Ceramics was an ideal vehicle for formal expressions and practices, however I faced the limitation in transcending the text and context of a sword using this medium. I then turned to salt, which charmed me with its visual manifestation of its sensual materiality. The symbolic aspect also fascinated me; salt has symbolic images of wealth, power, religiousness, and life that are parallel to the nature of human desires.
After ten year of using the sword as a subject matter, I search for new ideas and changes. I am now pursuing formal changes and metaphorical expressions using the form of flowers. To me, a flower as a sexual organ means the origin of a life and is a core of desires hidden under its brilliance. In that aspect, a flower and word are sharing a similar nature within them. I can therefore describe that the conceptual aspect of my most recent work is similar to that of my past works.
In order to avoid conventional images that using representational objects might cause and hence compromise metaphorical expressions within them, I used my imagination to create the forms. In other words, my new work is a variation of expressing human desires and their futility, borrowing forms of imaginary flowers.