One of the works in South Korean artist Yeesookyung’s Translated Vase series is now part of the Art Institute of Chicago’s permanent collection.
Yee’s work, Translated Vase_2015 TVGW 3, is expected to be introduced to a wider audience as well as through various exhibitions and education programs.
Yeesookyung is known in the international art world for her Translated Vase series, a group of ceramic sculptures created with discarded fragments of porcelain.
The series began in 2002 after she found out that ceramists from traditional Korean workshops break into pieces the porcelains that are below their strict standards. In this series, Yee puts together the shards of the porcelains like puzzles and fills the cracks with gold, turning the discarded ceramics into a new piece of artwork.
The idea for the series was conceived in 2001 when Yee was working on an artwork for the Biennale of Ceramics in Albisola, Italy. She handed a Joseon Dynasty poem translated to English to a local potter who had no knowledge of Korean traditional pottery and commissioned the potter to recreate a Joseon white porcelain based on the text. From this project, Yee realized that mistranslations and distortions occur in the process of translation.
Since historical and cultural exchanges take place in creating the artworks, layers of translation occur in Yee’s series; translating the language of Eastern culture into contemporary/Western culture, tradition into today’s, craftsmen into artists, and works of failure into a completed piece of artwork.
Whichever way, misinterpretation and imperfection in conveying the contents occur.
Including the Translated Vase series, Yeesookyung works on various genres including sculptures, installations, videos, paintings, drawings, and performances. She has been invited to major exhibitions around the world, including the main exhibition of the 57th Venice Biennale, the Gwangju Biennale, the Liverpool Biennale, the Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art, Asia Society Texas Center, and Atelier Hermes.
Her works are also in the collections of world-renowned institutions such as the Boston Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, British Museum, Korea National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, and Leeum Museum of Art.
Founded in 1879 and began operating as an art museum in 1882, the Art Institute of Chicago is a museum with a wide-ranging collection of more than 300,000 artworks from ancient times to today. It is also known as the second-largest art museum in the United States as well as one of the oldest and largest art museums in the world. It is also a museum that is visited by almost 1.5 million people annually.
Its collection has some of the best-known modern and contemporary artworks, such as Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks (1942), Grant Wood’s American Gothic (1930), and several Impressionist paintings as well as contemporary works by some of the most renowned artists, including Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Jackson Pollock, and Jasper Jones.
Works of other Korean modern and contemporary artists included in the museum collection include those by Nam June Paik, Yeon Soon Chang, Po Kim, and several Dansaekhwa paintings by Lee Ufan, Chung Sang-Hwa (b. 1932), Park Seo-Bo (b. 1931), and Ha Chong-Hyun (b. 1935).