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Kim, Minjung: Korean traditional paper, fire, and muk


Kim focuses on traditional Korean aesthetics centered around hanji (Korean traditional paper), fire, and muk in the context of contemporary art. The natural lines created by burning with fire are the most essential elements in her artwork. She has developed 'collages' made by burning hanji. The subtle hanji and the intense heat of fire act like alchemy, with the artist boldly challenging the distinctiveness and originality of the materials. It conveys a message that something new can emerge.

I coincidentally met her at Frankfurt Airport in September 2021. Our chance encounter sparked my interest in hanji art. Through exploring her work more deeply in this project, I delved into the aesthetics of hanji, relating it to the tradition of Korean art within the context of contemporary art.

[Here I have written about the practical aspects of the hanji artists I am interested in.]

4.‘Empty and Fill’, 97x154㎝, won at auction on the 17th. [Photo by Minjeong Kim Studio].jp

Kang Hangbok: Woodblock Prints on Hanji

Kang Hangbok showcases a trend in woodblock prints on hanji (Korean traditional paper) that captures the aesthetic found in traditional Korean paintings, interpreted through a contemporary lens. This exhibition, held in 2000 and reviewed by art critics, is considered groundbreaking for breaking down the perceived barriers of the rugged genre of woodblock prints. His large-scale woodblock prints vividly depict existing places, evoking a sense of nostalgia for the viewers, making them reminisce about the spaces portrayed.

Ryu Yeonbok: Woodblock Prints on Hanji

The artist states, "The work of bringing dead wood to life with the tip of a knife is precisely what woodblock printing is. When the images expressed with the tip of a knife are imprinted on paper, this tree resurrects tenfold with ten strikes, a hundredfold with a hundred strikes."

As a specialist in woodblock printing, Ryu Yeonbok carves his subjects of longing onto hanji (Korean traditional paper). This act gives meaning to our present lives, which we often overlook, as they too will someday become subjects of 'longing.' I found inspiration in his act of engraving memories from the past into hanji, capturing the essence of longing, which became the theme of my work.


Kang Hangbok: Woodblock Prints on Hanji

Kang Hangbok showcases a trend in woodblock prints on hanji (Korean traditional paper) that captures the aesthetic found in traditional Korean paintings, interpreted through a contemporary lens. This exhibition, held in 2000 and reviewed by art critics, is considered groundbreaking for breaking down the perceived barriers of the rugged genre of woodblock prints. His large-scale woodblock prints vividly depict existing places, evoking a sense of nostalgia for the viewers, making them reminisce about the spaces portrayed.

Lim Heeduk: Hanji and the Cross

Hanji artist Im Heeduk explores the representation of the cross and light by tearing, folding, rolling, and sculpting hanji. The softness of the hanji pieces, where they delicately touch and form rippling lines, embodies the resilience of hanji, rising with vitality as another characteristic. The juxtaposition of concepts, such as justice and love, suffering and resurrection, is expressed in a contrasting manner, akin to the birth of light illuminating the darkness, portraying the cross as the light of life that dispels hardship and darkness.

Filling her life of suffering with radiant light, Im Heeduk's work is intimately connected with the delicate yet strong properties of hanji.

"In the hearts of people, there is a painting depicting the traces of life hung for everyone to see. In every part of life, there are traces of victories won with the love and power of the cross, making an unfinished life akin to a piece of artwork. I decided to bring out the cross that has long been kept in the gallery of my heart and shape it into images one by one. With gratitude for the cross's love that helped me overcome difficult periods, I expressed my faith confession in my artwork with joyful praise in my heart."

Ji Jungyeon: Hanji Artist

Ji Jungyeon expresses profound emotions of longing through hanji, traditional Korean paper. To her, hanji resembles the windbreakers that shielded her from the warm light and cool breeze of her humble cottage during her childhood.

"The child (Hanji), who was as warm as a mother’s arms, came up to me with a longing for my mother (mother) and quietly took my hand and led me. “Let’s go together…”

Hanji possesses a subtle yet robust nature, allowing for various effects through weaving, twisting, molding, and bending. Its versatility demands endless physical effort and a craftsman's spirit for proper handling. Ji Jungyeon captures her feelings and memories within her artwork by skillfully manipulating the aesthetics of hanji. Through her art, she encapsulates the essence of hanji, reflecting her own emotions and experiences.

“My work, which was created after hard work, helped me understand the past of past failures, healed all the pain, and gave birth to a new life. Artisan labor always promotes new thinking. And the thoughts that come out of this kind of labor seem to take firm root in life.”

Yang, Sanghoon: Hanji Sculptural Art

Yang Sanghoon explores various approaches ranging from hanji painting to sculpture and installation art. The artist experiments with a technique called 'jumchi,' creating new hanji using eco-friendly materials. Utilizing hanji, a nature-friendly material that fosters a strong connection with humans, he enhances its sculptural beauty, delving into the materiality of hanji while promoting harmony with nature.

11.Yang Sang-hoon2.jpeg
13.Peter Bogerthers, standing next to a photograph printed on Korean paper..jpg

Bogerthers: Hanji photographer

Bogerthers works with three different thicknesses of hanji. He takes photographs and then transfers them onto copper plates using chemicals to create prints similar to etchings. He explores a different sensation, distinct from the combination of hanji's white hue and black ink that resonates with Western paper.

"When you print a picture on Korean paper, a delicate yet very strong image is expressed. Because light and air pass through at the same time, the intimacy with the viewer of the exhibition is overwhelming compared to other papers."

Installation, Space and Book art

[Here I have written about the concepts of the artists I refer to]

Josefina Nelimarkka

"A moment is the smallest amount of time."

Her research-based work explores invisible/visible phenomena and perceptions through performative processes, real-time environmental data, and site-sensitive installations.

Studying the intent behind her installation art inspired me to embark on a new ambition of developing my research-based performative process. I have ingeniously induced the audience's imagination about the future by rolling end into a scroll form, effectively emphasizing the theme of time. While her work emphasized visual representation, I refereed a visual representation in her work, but I brought it to my work by linking it with the concept of a Korean cultural classic book, bringing transformation and interpretation into a new form.

Installation art

Josefina Nelimarkka.jpg
Miles Lauterwasser, Sure Place 2022, installation shot2.webp

Miles Lauterwasser

"Imagery is developed using photography, projection, scanning and laser cutting, processes that are used in combination. The points of exchange between these processes highlight different qualities and permeate the language of one with the next. At these moments artifacts in the process are fused, the memory of a place reconstructed in the image as breccia."

Lauterwasser challenges the tradition of 'beginning, middle, end' by exploring and contrasting cyclical time and linear time conventions. Time-based techniques such as sequential photography or scanning actions of printing scanners are repeated, reconstructed, and constructed. In artwork Sure Place (2022), her curious perspectives and dissonant surfaces have intriguingly provided a framework for disrupting traditional spaces.

John Byrne: Book Art

The massive pop-up book crafted by John Byrne, spanning over 2 meters, finds its place not only in the gallery display but also functions as a virtual 3D model for stage sets. In live performances, actors used to flip its pages, unveiling subsequent scenes as the play unfolded. Through John Byrne's book art installation, I delved into its potential role within specific spaces.

My artwork, The Cross, acts as a connector between the realms of printmaking exhibitions and painting displays, effectively bridging  these spaces together. It offered intriguing responses to the query of what a book could truly be.


Artist books: Camberwell library

Book artist: Seong-Jae Song

In the artist book from Camberwell College showed by Siobhán Britton, I was captivated by the work of MA student and Korean book artist Seong-jae Song. Although his book was small, it effectively showcased the essence of Hangul, the unique Korean script, through visual aesthetics and sculptural form. While he primarily focused on presenting information about Korean culture as a book artist, I suggested what a book could truly become.

Inspired by this, I began exploring the concepts of installation art, space, and book art. I delved into combining these ideas and, as both a visual artist and a printmaker, I attempted to connect images in the form of book pages. Through a narrative storytelling approach, I aimed to showcase Korean cultural heritage from various angles, demonstrating how a book could serve as a medium to introduce this heritage to the world.

Extended research: interviews

[Here, I've shared a write-up detailing the interview with Asian-British, cross-cultural families that served as the inspiration for my artwork, The Cross.]

Interviewees: Hyun Lee (23), Chan Lee (26), and Soondeok Kim (79)

Upon entering Unit 3, my interest was piqued by the challenges faced by Asian-British teenagers in their quest for identity. Initially, I perceived the conflicts arising within my own family as mere generational differences. However, through this project, I came to realize that these conflicts were rooted in intergenerational cultural disparities. The journey began within my own household, and by interviewing five families, mine included, I discovered common issues related to identity struggles among their children. Here, I present the interviews with the families that served as the inspiration for my artwork, The Cross.


My mother, Kim Soon-deok (79), embodies tradition as she stands before the book's first page. My children, Lee Chan (25) and Lee Hyun (23), are positioned in front of the fourth page, symbolizing the digital era and modernity. I, Han Mi-young (49), stand in the middle, representing the pivotal role of bridging and facilitating connections between their traditions and cultures.


Performance, tradition and contemporary, and bridge


Performance, tradition and contemporary, and​ interaction

Interviews: Yeo-Eun Kim(14), Sooyeon Park(47) and Yeonsun Jung(71)

Yeo-eun Kim (14), originally from South Korea, relocated to the UK with her parents in 2017. She is currently enrolled at Surbiton High School. When questioned about the primary sources of conflict with her mother, Sooyeon Park (46), Yeoeun expressed, "My mom doesn't understand me. She often labels me as rude, but I don't understand why she sees me that way." When the same query was directed at her grandmother, Yeonsun Jung, she replied, "I frequently feel overlooked by my granddaughter, Yeoeun." During these interviews, I discovered that attributing their conflicts solely to generational disparities was overly simplistic. Isn't there a need for understanding between Sooyeon Park, who has been educated in traditional Korean ways, and Yeoeun Kim, who is being educated within the Western system?

To encourage mutual understanding, I orchestrated a simple performance on the day of the exhibition. This time, the younger generation stood in the forefront, with Yeoeun's grandmother positioned behind. I occupied the middle, assuming the role of a bridge, connecting them to one another.

Interview: Claudia(17)

Claudia (second from the right) was born in the UK and currently attends Holy Trinity School in Surbiton. She opened up about the conflicts she faces with her parents and grandparents, who have been in the UK since May this year:

"My dad and grandfather have never expressed their love for me." "My grandmother disapproves of my hairstyle, thinking it should be as long as that of typical Indian girls."

Her grandfather, deeply rooted in Indian tradition, believes that expressing love verbally is unnecessary. He contends that love should be felt in the heart, a sentiment shared by many Indian men.


Artist talks: The Cross by Miyoung Han Lee


I gathered the three families who participated in my interviews that day and elucidated the conflicts depicted in my artwork, "The Cross." By amalgamating traditional and modern techniques, creating new imagery where these methods intersect, and forming intricate patterns and wave-like shapes at specific junctures, I aimed to convey a message of mutual understanding and respect. I placed particular emphasis on my role as a bridge between my children and their grandparents due to my position as their mother. These interviews revealed that grandparents insist on grounding their identity in traditional culture, which they impose on their grandchildren. In contrast, those educated in Western cultural spheres do not share the same perspective, leading to confusion about their personal identities.


A phenomenon exists among certain Asian-British students, either born in the UK or immigrated at a young age, who are often labelled as "bananas." This term signifies their yellow skin colour but metaphorically refers to them as white bananas when their cultural identity is perceived as more Westernized. Despite their different skin colour, isn't it essential to acknowledge that their thoughts and beliefs are shaped by Western culture?

Artist books: Chelsea library

Research festival

Siobhán Britton guided me to Chelsea College, where I explored concrete poetry artist books through her and was introduced to the theory book Augusto de Campos Poetemoins. I found the concept of creating images from texts mentioned in this book truly fascinating.

Inspired by Artist Blcknell's book folding, I am currently researching text-to-image creation and book binding. This exploration will be showcased at the research festival and might become a unique artist book connecting Korean paper in the form of a cross with Western paper.


Poetemoins - anthologie

Research festival

Campos, Augusto De

Published by LES PRESSES DU REEL, 2011

ISBN 10: 2840664917ISBN 13: 9782840664918

Selected books


The Object – Documents of Contemporary Art

A collection of essays by various authors, edited by Antony Hudek

Phyllida Barlow  - The Sneeze of Louise


Poetics of Space

Gaston Bachelda


published by Beacon Press

그림8. 책.jpg

Korean art from the 19th Centre to the precent


London Reaktion



(Documents on Contemporary Art)


Petra Lange-Berndt

published by The MIT Press

on behalf of Whitechapel Gallery


Cross Culture


Junhyung Park

ISBN 9791158770334


Cultural identity


Paul du gay

Publication by sage

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Traditional painting


Rober Koehler et al

Publication by seoul selection


Hanji story
Jeon Jin Sook
publication by Kyunghyang Shinmun


The Tears of Things

Peter Schwenger

The Dream Narrative of Debris

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Culture and identity

Anita Jones Thomas & ‎Sara E. Schwarzbaum ·


publication by sage

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