Group show Hanji Translated to showcase the best of Korean paper in Chennai
A new exhibition will showcase the multitude of prospects that Korean hanji paper presents as a medium.
The word ‘hanji’ literally means ‘the paper of Korea’, and is primarily made of the fibrous skin of the mulberry. But hanji is not simply paper, and is known for its remarkable versatility, finding use in utalitarian forms, and also being a medium of choice for a few highly skilled artists.
At Hanji Translated, a transnational exhibition set to be held in Chennai this week, the attempt will be to connect 13 exceptional contemporary artists from India, Korea and the United States, all of whom work with hanji in their fine art practices.
Co-hosted by Inko Centre, the show will feature seleced works by Marna Brauner, Shormii Chowdhury, Sudipta Das, Christiane Grauert, Ravikumar Kashi, Kwon Inkyung, Aimee Lee, Jessica M Ganger, Nirmal Raja, Song Soo Ryun, Lim Soo Sik, Julie VonDerVellen and Rina Yoon.
Among the lot, Kashi is well-known in Indian art circles for his extended and in-depth experiments and tryouts with paper, even as he frequently conducts workshops to share his expertise and techniques with enthusiasts.
From small-scale works to larger installations, with sculptures, photo books and more thrown into the mix, all of the 13 artists at the show will elucidate their expertise over the singular material of hanji, in various different ways.
A curatorial note for Hanji Translated explains that the concept of translation presents itself in two ways: paper transformed from one material form to another, and paper used as a mode for translating life experiences.
Curated by Nirmal Raja, along with Assistant Curator Chelsea Holton the show will focus on the versatility of hanji as a medium, while examining concepts related to transcultural communication and issues related to history, identity, migration and memory, adds the note.
For a nugget of trivia, the lifespan of Korean paper is said to be an astounding 1,000 years. While in the West, products made of paper that are more than 300-400 years old are considered extremely rare, Korea is known to have preserved quite a few books and drawings that are almost 1,000 years old.
The superior quality of Korean paper, and its levels of endurance, make it a unique medium to work with. However, with its incredibly complicated, slow and laborious process of manufacturing, the traditional methods for making Korean paper are not being passed down as actively as before.
The Korean government has, in fact, appointed the masters of Korean papermaking as cultural assets, even as traditional Korean paper continues to compete with the mass distribution of cheaper, easily produced modern paper.
That’s where this show hopes to make a difference, and the results, we’re assured, will last for at least a few generations to follow.
Consul General Hyung Tae Kim from the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea will inaugurate the show on January 11, at 7 pm. Consul General Robert G Burgess, US Consulate General, Chennai will release the catalogue and Gita Ram, Chairperson, Crafts Council of India, will receive the first copy. The show remains open until 20 January.
— Team Indulge