Sunkoo Yuh: Grafted Stories
During the last twelve years, the Korean-born artist Sunkoo Yuh created large-scale ceramic sculpture, porcelain tiles, and works on paper. His lushly glazed, totem-like porcelain sculptures respond to a bewildering, multicultural, diaspora existence, and evoke the artist’s personal history, aspects of cultural integration, and spiritual discovery that creates order out of chaos.
Yuh’s work blends folkloric Korean iconography with tongue-in-cheek twists on politics, religion, and the family unit. He skillfully articulates his concepts through the expert use of stoneware and porcelain ceramic, defying the limits of what can reasonably be built and fired. Working in the round with a soft material offers a perfect medium for the artist to mix histories and clashing cultural influences.
The artist’s process is a painstaking one. Intuitive pen-and-ink drawings form the basis of his lively narratives and the ongoing dialogue he has with his day-to-day life. After working out ideas in drawing, he then moves to the process of rendering them three-dimensionally in clay, applying vibrant, multi-layered glazes reminiscent of historical T’ang pottery. Full of images from the Chinese lunar calendar, such as the pig, rabbit, and tiger, these dynamic, complex works reflect the depth of the artist’s cross referencing and invite us to explore unique cultural perspectives through a byzantine narrative labyrinth.
Yuh’s work speaks to the combined confusion and delight of new beginnings coupled with the maintenance of cultural traditions. The cast of characters in Yuh’s sculpture and drawing create a bridge between his imagined universe and his travails as a bi-cultural citizen and artist. In essence, the work is the “residue” of his attempts to secure a sense of permanency in a fluid world.
Sunkoo Yuh: Grafted Stories is organized by MOAD and curated by guest curator Mindy Solomon.