Artist Lee Seung Hee
Medium: Ceramic, glaze, cyanide
Dimensions: 40W x 40W in
Original Artwork Price: $34,700
Starting with a blank clay tablet, Lee painstakingly applies up to 70 extremely thin layers of kaolin, a mixture of white clay and water used in porcelain production. Each layer requires a full day to apply and dry. In the next stage, he carefully isolates a raised central shape by scraping and cutting away the background. In this way, he renders, in shallow relief, the outline of the historic ceramic work that is his subject. After applying, where needed, a traditional ornamental pattern in colored pigment, he glazes and fires the work in a kiln. The entire procedure can take up to 90 days from start to finish. The original ceramic objects that Lee depicts include examples of the celebrated white porcelain that made its appearance in the 15th century, and whose elegant minimal forms were prized by the Korean aristocracy. Lee also turns to classic examples of the blue-and-white ware of the same period, noted for the use of cobalt blue pigment to create stylized patterns of birds, dragons, lotuses, and bamboo.