The work of sculptor Wookjae Maeng is populated with inexplicable oddities. Despite bearing realistic resemblance to real-life critters, exaggerations push her porcelain animals into the realm of the surreal. Winged frogs take flight, a stack of small birds perched atop a pineapple, and other strange sights abound his art.
Through porcelain, the South Korean artist speaks to the delicate balance between mankind and the natural world. “My works examine the bond between us and the natural world,” he says. “I make stories about animals in the hope that others will share the positive emotional changes and joys that I have learned from my relationships with them.”
Wookjae Maeng 的作品宛如一个真实存在的变异世界：长着翅膀的青蛙、双头老鼠、小鸟们叠起罗汉站在菠萝上。这是他创造的陶瓷世界，自然和人类是他的作品永恒的主题。“我在叙述关于动物的故事，也希望其他人能够分享我从与各种动物的关系中，能感受到那种积极的情绪变化。”
Mutations are the norm in Maeng’s ceramic world. Through these surreal figures, he looks to inspire reflection on the environmental woes that’ve resulted from human negligence. These themes and messages are essential to Maeng’s art. “With my work, I want people to think about how small acts of kindness can affect the world and animals around us,” he says. “If we work together, we can build a harmonious relationship with the environment.”
For each sculpture, he mixes and matches different animal parts at the whim of his imagination. Once he has a rough idea, it first gets sketched out. He’ll then begin working with clay to bring the vision to life. Over the years, he’s gained a deep understanding of ceramics as a medium。 Its malleability and how different clay reacts to varying temperatures are all aspects he considers when he works. “As I create, I’m always thinking about compositional balance,” he adds.
在设计雕塑作品的时候，Wookjae 就设定好了在每件作品中呈现的与内容相关的方面以及详细主题的方向。随后他会根据想象，一件一件地置入合适的动物，在决定好细节元素后，再完成建模、注浆和烧制。为了提高作品的完整性，Wookjae 还必须了解所使用媒介的各种特性，不同的材料其成型的温度不同，金色的瞳孔在最后一次烧铸时才会被点上。
Maeng believes that if his messages about environmentalism are to be seen by larger audiences, his work must be compelling. The golden eyes that he adds as finishing touches to his critters are part of this goal, a way of capturing the audience’s attention. He’s even started incorporating sound design, factoring in lighting, and experimenting with video art alongside his porcelain work. He believes these multidisciplinary approaches add depth to his work. “I constantly think about how to effectively express myself so that audiences will be drawn to the work,” he says.
“在整个过程中，我会不断考虑整体构图平衡与和谐。”Wookjae 说道，得益于从事社会改善工作，他深知引起观众的兴趣来传达内容的重要性，而要做到这一点，则可以用视觉强调，或使用声音、光和视频等媒体来突出主体。“为此，我必须对一种有效的中心表达方式进行大量思考，以吸引人们对每件作品或展览的关注。”每一次观众与白瓷上那一点金色眼睛交流的时候，也就代表着 Wookjae 的成功。
The satisfaction of finishing a new piece of art doesn’t last long for Maeng. After completing a sculpture, he often thinks about what could be made better, and this obsession for perfection motivates him to start on a new sculpture. “Since my work tells stories about the symbiosis of life, they’re based on real personal experiences,” he says. “I strive to pay close attention to the various life conditions and lives around me and to imagine life from their positions. I seek to express the thoughts of other life forms. If we listen with even a slight interest, the life forms around us will gift us with valuable experiences, emotions, and inspiration.”
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Contributor: Chen Yuan
供稿人: Chen Yuan