last chance


11 May 2024 – 22 Jun 2024

Regular hours

11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00

Save Event: CHOI YOUNG WOOK KARMA: rites1

I've seen this

People who have saved this event:


Helen J Gallery is thrilled to present KARMA: rites, Choi Young Wook’s second exhibition with the gallery. The works on view cement Choi’s role as a leading figure in Korean contemporary art, and showcase his latest forays into his ongoing Karma series.


Choi Young Wook’s compositions come into focus only gradually. Profiles of porcelain vessels appear first, followed by scattered multicolor stains and networks of hairline fissures. For Choi, these details are neither technical lapses nor demonstrations of photographic fidelity. Instead, the marks that cover his painted ceramic forms are the culmination of past experiences, indexes of lifelong karmic accrual. Moon jars, his characteristic motifs, are prized for their variable hues, skewed gaits, and unadorned exteriors. With these anthropomorphic traits in mind, Choi executes his works as if a diarist, opting for inward observations over assembly-line uniformity.

After more than two decades, Choi’s preferred format — a moon jar placed at eye level against a clouded backdrop — has blurred the line between routine and rite. Offshoots of his customs are guided into less familiar territory. In his pitch-black Karma 3-60, a moon jar is discernible only by the fine white lines of the glaze’s inverted cracks. Elsewhere, Choi’s field of vision centers on close-ups that could pass for mountainous scenery.

Clay has always been adept at record-keeping, capturing microbes in fossilized seabeds and forming the bulk of the world’s archeological finds. By foregrounding the preserved histories and identities of his moon jars, Choi finds an outlet for his painterly nous and pensive disposition. His mottled surfaces become character studies of subjects whose inner contents are unknown but whose past is on display.

If raw substance dominates refinement, you will be coarse. If refinement dominates raw substance, you will be clerical. When refinement and raw qualities are well blended, you will be gunja, a human of virtue.


What to expect? Toggle

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Choi Young Wook


Have you been to this event? Share your insights and give it a review below.