Chae Eunmi, a Korean artist, who deals with the alchemy of gold through light using pure gold and mother of pearl, has shown great capability as she engaged internationally in 19 solo exhibitions and 120 group exhibitions after her graduate school at Tokyo University of the Arts.
Her works show concise, sophisticated, and contemporary forms with a creative method using a glamorous yet delicate medium —gold and mother of pearl. Her works also contain boldness as she incorporates gold that does not include any additives and the beauty of light that is definite and unchanging. Chae Eunmi’s work creates an ambiance of eternity as light reflects in different directions through the gold-plated cubes fixed onto a panel that is painted with artist-invented paint.
Chae Eunmi encountered ceramics, Korean paintings, and calligraphic works at an early age as she was born and raised in Icheon, a UNESCO City of Crafts and Folk Art of South Korea. She majored in western painting for her undergraduate studies in Korea and then moved to Japan as a graduate research student of western painting at Tokyo University of the Arts.
Today, she is a highly anticipated contemporary artist as she employs various media such as video, sculpting, and architecture in her video art expressing the four-dimensional world of light. Her works are especially well known among the Arab royalty. Recently, all her video art pieces were sold out in the Abu Dhabi Art Fair and also in Dubai Art Fair for three consecutive years. Chae also gained her reputation as an outstanding artist through her exhibition organized by the embassy in the National Museum of Sweden. International interests are growing as her works are permanently collected in New York and featured in Hong Kong and Dubai.
Chae Eunmi, like she always has been, passionate, persevering, and diligent, regenerates her energy towards the future as if it is her first time. Despite all her global achievements and appreciations, she never stops moving towards the future dream. She flies like a resurrected butterfly in its abundant glory and continues to pour her passion into her work.
Chae Eunmi creates artworks on the theme of eternity and uses gold in her work to symbolize unchanging eternity. She believes that within eternity’s endless space, light is a symbol of life and truth, with the color inside of light symbolizing energy - another constant and unchanging quality. Chae uses the light of the gold to bring warm and peaceful energy not only into her work but into the universe as well. This perfectly complements Chae’s use of the mother of pearl, which alludes to resilience through its very creation and existence. Just as the beautiful markings on the mother of pearl are the result of the arduous process it endures to take its form, it is representative of how painful experiences and hardships of life are a part of what makes us so beautiful and who we are.
As light comes in to fill and unite with the empty spaces in Chae’s works, the golden surfaces of the cubic forms continuously reflect unto one another to create an infinite amount of new spaces and images. To Chae, human life imitates such phenomena as humans also reflect one another, assisting and affecting each other’s lives, while constantly changing, expanding, and growing their inner selves.
“In the beginning, butterflies were incapable of flying as their wings were all torn up and made of various different fragments. One day, a golden seed was planted in the heart of a butterfly who wanted so dearly to fly and kept growing until it began to sprout leaves, flowers, and fruits. The flowers began to cover and mend the butterfly’s wings until the butterfly was resurrected and finally able to fly towards its dreams while simultaneously spreading the aroma of beauty, love, and blessings to the world. ”
- Story by Chae Eunmi