Soap and clay

“When will you be done installing?”

Over the past two days I’ve heard this question from several staff and visitors who have encountered a spread of crates and precariously placed ceramics outside the doors of the Korean galleries.

"Translation Series" by Meekyoung Shin. Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored steel plate, wooden crate. Lent by the Artist.

"Translation Series" by Meekyoung Shin. Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored steel plate, wooden crate. Lent by the Artist.

The answer: We’re done!

And a clarification: That’s not clay!

Meekyoung Shin’s Translation Series plays with many things: material, process, place. Those elegant vases are made of humble soap. Perched on their travel crates, they look to me like they have just arrived at the museum— or alternatively are just leaving.

Translation Series #19 (2009) by Meekyoung Shin. Soap, pigment, varish, mirrored steel plate, wooden crate. Lent by the Artist.

Conservator Mark Fenn condition checks a soap vase from the Translation Series prior to installation.

Soap sculpture is new to museum exhibition staff. In planning the installation, our team has had deep discussion about  burning questions such as how does one secure soap in the case of an earthquake, and will it melt under the lights?

Curator of Korean Art Hyonjeong Kim Han oversees installation of Meekyoung Shin's "Ghost Series" in the Korean gallery.

Meekyoung Shin will be featured as an AsiaAlive artist in September, in conjunction with the exhibition Poetry in Clay: Korean Ceramics from the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art. You can enjoy her Translation Series, along with several other contemporary Korean works that reference ceramic traditions in the museum’s Korean galleries and on the west end of the Loggia.

4 Responses to “Soap and clay”

  1. Nancy  on August 29th, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I was at the Asian last week and resisted the temptation to peek around the screens blocking the installation. But what you had up – the gorgeous vase installation plus photographs and the drawings on mulberry paper were very exciting. I’m really looking forward to this show – something new to review!

  2. Dany  on August 31st, 2011 at 9:45 am

    This installation is heaven for the senses! I walk by there just to get a whiff of the fragrance of the soap vases–it’s like a dash of perfume for my spirit :-)

  3. JessP  on September 15th, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I have never seen any type of art made out of soap before and i think that it is very unique and creative!

  4. Korin  on September 15th, 2011 at 11:19 am

    I love the details on the vases! I am shocked that they are made out of soap, that is very cool :)


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