press release Earth, Fire, Soul


press release Earth, Fire, Soul
press release
Earth, Fire, Soul
Masterpieces of Korean Ceramics
27 April – 20 June 2016
Grand Palais
Salon d’honneur
This exhibition is co-organized by the Réunion
des musées nationaux - Grand Palais and the
National Museum of Korea, with the participation
of Sèvres - Cité de la céramique.
Throughout the entire world, ceramics are made using earth and fire, but the style and
characteristics of ceramics in various regions are quite different. Certainly, Korean ceramics
embody the uniqueness of Korea—the mind and spirit of the country—and thus occupy their
own exclusive domain. This exhibition features numerous masterpieces from the collection of
the National Museum of Korea, many of which have been officially designated as Treasures
and National Treasures, allowing visitors to explore the full history of Korean ceramics while
immersing themselves in the inherent spirit that it contains.
The exhibition provides an inclusive overview of Korean ceramics, ranging from ancient times
of the Three Kingdoms Period, through the Goryeo Dynasty and the Joseon Dynasty, and up
to the contemporary era. For example, notable early works include elaborate vessels shaped
like people and animals, which were often entombed with the deceased in order to guide
the soul into the afterlife, thus reflecting funerary beliefs of the time. Meanwhile, the thriving
aristocratic culture of the Goryeo period is evoked by celadon vessels with sumptuous forms
and lavish coats of brilliant jade-colored glaze, demonstrating the high tastes of the upper
class. The optimism and energy of the early Joseon era can be felt in the free and creative
designs of buncheong wares, while the austere beauty of pristine white porcelain conveys
the Neo-Confucian principles promoted by the Joseon society.
Furthermore, everyday items made from celadon and white porcelain—including tableware,
women’s cosmetics containers, and literati stationary items—offer a fascinating glimpse into
the daily lives of people of their respective period. The true aesthetic sense and sentiment of
Korea is said to be epitomized by “moon jars,” large round white porcelain jars that resemble
a full moon. With their color that is white, but not perfectly white, and their shape that is round,
but not perfectly round, moon jars carry a distinctive charm that never fails to captivate the
Bol à couvercle buncheong avec motif de chrysanthème estampé, Dynastie Joseon, XVe siècle, H. 33,6 cm, Collection Dongwon, legs
de Lee Hong-kun en 1981, National Museum of Korea, © National Museum of Korea
Traditional ceramics have always been a rich source of inspiration to contemporary artists. Hence,
along with traditional masterpieces of Korean ceramics, this exhibition also introduces major works
by some of Korea’s most renowned contemporary artists, all of whom are active in the international
art scene. Examples include a collaborative work by Lee Ufan and Park Young Sook, which utilizes
the style of blue-and-white porcelain; a video work by Kimsooja - entitled Earth, Water, Fire, Air which examines the four prime elements of the universe (and of ceramics) from a new perspective;
and a new video work by Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho - entitled A modern moon, life within a
vase -, whose previous work News from Nowhere (presented at Documenta in Kassel, Germany)
received great attention.
general curator : Dr. Kim Youngna, ex-director of the National Museum of Korea
co-curators: Im Jin A, Kim Kyudong, Kim Hyunjung, Park Hyewon and Yoon Sangdeok, curators at the National
Museum of Korea
scientific advisor : Stéphanie Brouillet, curator at Sèvres - Cité de la Céramique, Head of Asian collections
open: every day from 10 a.m. to 8
p.m., late-night opening until 10 p.m.
on wednesday
closed Tuesdays and 1st of May
rates : € 10, 7 € concession (1625 years old, jobseekers and large
Free for under 16 years old, income
support beneficiaries and state
publication by the Réunion des
musées nationaux - Grand Palais,
Paris 2016 :
- exhibition catalogue, 29 x 24,5 cm, 224
p., 200 ill., 39 €
accès : metro line 1 and 13 «ChampsElysées-Clemenceau» or line 9
«Franklin D.Roosevelt.
informations et booking :
Manifestation organisée dans le cadre de
l’Année France-Corée 2015-2016
press contacts:
Réunion des musées nationaux
- Grand Palais
254-256 rue de Bercy
75577 Paris cedex 12
Florence Le Moing
[email protected]
+33 1 40 13 47 62
Julie Debout
[email protected]

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