A pioneering ceramic artist, Ree Soo-jong belongs to the first generation of modern ceramic in South Korea and is the leading figure in the Korean ceramic studio movement. Post Korean war, the country rapidly modernised society, politic, art and culture and had the aim to revive the rich traditional ceramic art in the 60s and 70s when Ree took his first degree in ceramic over his long passion for painting at the major art university Hongik. After mastering the skills and instead reproducing traditional pots, the artist started developing new kinds of ceramic from abstract ceramic painting to sculpture that blurred fine art and ceramics in the 80s. Also known as the modern master of ‘Chulhwa Buncheong’, Ree brought back the forgotten 15-century stoneware white-slip decoration technique and treats the ceramic surface as if it were paper, working with Korean calligraphy painting techniques on white slip mix with iron, using spontaneous, energetic strokes.

A pioneering ceramic artist, Lee Soo-jong belongs to the first generation of modern ceramicists in South Korea and is a leading figure in the Korean ceramic studio movement. After the Korean war there was a rapid modernisation of society, politics, art and culture, and over the 1960’s – 70’s there was a marked aim to revive Korea’s rich traditional ceramic arts. In this time, Lee undertook his first degree in ceramics at Hongik, South Korea’s major art university. It was here, whilst honing the key traditional ceramics skills that the artist started to experiment in abstract ceramic painting and sculpture, going on to blur the lines of fine art and ceramics in the 1980’s. Known also as the modern master of ‘Chulhwa Buncheong’, Lee brought back the forgotten iron and white-slip decoration techniques of the 15th-16th century. Lee treats the ceramic surface as if it were paper and works with Korean calligraphy techniques, incorporating spontaneous, energetic strokes. 

This exhibition presents Lee’s iron painted porcelain Moon Jars. Since the early 2000’s the artist has focused on another radical approach to shake up the history of Korean ceramics. The Moon Jar is a traditional ceramic sculpture made of two porcelainhemispheres - it has been appreciated since its first appearance in the Joseon Dynasty (14 to 19th C), in part for the artistry required to achieve a seamless, continuous curved surface. Yet Lee deliberately works to counteract this, leaving the seam lines visible, describing the intersections or ‘skeleton’ of the jars - revealing the art of process. If the traditional Moon Jar can be described as a calm and modest female character Lee’s adaptation adds a bold masculine element with a proud scar around its chest. The artist inscribes his white Moon Jars with dark iron-brown brushstrokes that create a stark contrast and enliven the snow-white base colour. These brushstrokes could be translated as a reaction to the traditional or in more conceptual terms as a need to encounter the dark in order to appreciate the light. In the artists own words, ”When (the jar) is completely white, you can not truly see its whiteness but now you can.”


Public Collection (selected)

The British Museum, UK 

The Taipei City Museum, Taiwan

The Victoria and Albert Museum, UK

The Royal Ontario Museum, Canada 

The National Art Museum of China, China 

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, South Korea 



1979 M.F.A. Industrial Arts, Hongik University, Seoul, South Korea

1971 B.F.A. Ceramic Art, Hongik University, Seoul, Korea


Exhibitions (selected)

2017 ‘Between Serenity and Dynamism’ at the Triennale Design Museum, Milan, Italy

2017 ‘The Iron-painted Buncheong’ at the Piaopiao Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan 

2016 ‘MOON JAR’ at the Korean National University of Cultural Heritage, 

2015 ‘KOREA NOW’ at The Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, France

2014 ‘Constancy and Change in Korean Craft’ at the Triennale Design Museum, Milan, Italy

2012 ‘Whit Slip’ Korea, China and Japan Exhibition, Beijing, China

2011 The Tong-in New York Gallery, New York, USA

2010 - 1981 Over 30 solo exhibitions