Hanmi gallery is pleased to present Meekyoung Shin's upcoming ''Toilet Project'' at sketch London, which will feature soap ''artefact'' sculptures that visitors can ''use'' in the gallery toilet. Through the process of replication, Korean-born artist Meekyoung Shin contemplates on the discourse of cultural translation and museology in her personal narrative. Carving out of soap to mimic artefacts ranging from Ancient Greek and Roman marble sculptures to collections of Chinese and Korean export porcelain, historical and aesthetic values and the value of authenticity of familiar spectacles in a traditional museum space are dismantled. The reproductions are faithful to its original, but also not quiteâliberated from conventional perceptions of museum artworks.
Toilet project (2004'ongoing) features a set of soap ''artefacts'' exhibited in museum toilets. Engaging the audience to wash their hands with them, the ''relic-ification'' of cultural objects through centuries becomes observable in the span of a few weeks. The process of continual handling and polishing of the surface of soap brings to mind Oriental artefacts that become infused with oils over time to produce the mysterious sheen of antiquity. The eroded forms, removed of surface details, are then translated from the domestic setting of a toilet back into exhibition spaces and displayed as idealised aesthetic objects. The transition of value of the sculptures reflects the contextual gap between existence and reality. Soap evokes instability and erasure, yet this temporality of the substance inherently negotiates with the complicated past that made them.
Meekyoung Shin completed her BFA and MFA at Seoul National University. In 1995, she moved to London to obtain her MFA at the Slade School of Art, UCL, and was nominated for the Korean Artist Prize 2013. Shin has held solo exhibitions internationally at the Haunch of Venison, London (2010) and the Korean Cultural Centre UK, London (2013). She has participated in numerous group shows at the MoMA, New York and at the 2013 Asian Art Biennial in Taiwan. Her works are found in collections all over the world, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and the National Museum Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea.