A striking curtain of ‘Eyes’ suggests organic forms that we think we recognize. Each one different, reminiscent of flowers and sea urchins, some, the Golden Eye series, reflecting ourselves back from their centres. The textures are not reminiscent of eyes. Myung Nam-an is a fan of Alexander McQueen, encasing her circular forms in extravagant and impossible costumes. Why eyes? “Everyone’s eyes are unique and I like that when you look into a person’s eye, you may understand more about them. I like to tell stories using symbols that are universal. I explore abstract, appropriated images from our culture and translate these onto the surface of my sculptures.” The wall–mounted multiples are inspired by Dali’s surrealist curtain in the Hitchcock film Spellbound, but without the creepy shock factor. Some have ‘eyelashes’, soft and tactile to look at, yet all made of intricately formed ceramic. You want to touch her sculptures, to collect them and arrange them.
Myung Nam-an was born in Gyeonggi, South Korea, a province famous for the production of ceramics. After studying industrial craft design in Incheon, she moved to London to take a BA in ceramics at Camberwell College of Arts. She now works from a studio complex in C=South London and lives in Staines. Her work is a marriage of the contemporary South Korean cheomjang technique, and a conceptual approach. Cheomjang, literally ‘protruding molecule’ is a method of building up tiny drops of slip and pigment to form tall, spiky hairlike protrusions on the surface of ceramic forms. By repeating the procedure hundreds of times, the result is a textured, soft looking, highly tactile surface. Myung has shown this in her ‘Tear’ series, brightly coloured textured teardrop shaped pieces that again work best in multiples. The wall mounted groups of installation pieces can be made up of as few as 6 or 7 sculptures or large groups of 30 or more, they can be arranged and re arranged. The profusion of colours and unusual prickly, textured shapes, large and small are incredibly striking and covetable. She has taken this further with the more solid, hand modeled protrusions of her ‘Eyes’. Blue Butterfly Golden Eye 3 is a throng of butterflies around the familiar, central, reflective pupil, like a blue cornea. Conceptually, her eyes are not eyes and her faces are not faces. She gives a sense of familiarity to a familiar object that defies it’s description. The sculptures are incredibly beautifully made. They are bright and joyous and witty and funky.
The essence of my work is the human being and their everyday life. I finds ceramic to be the most suitable material to express my ideas.
The characteristics and limitations of the materials are a fundamental issue for me and my process is one based on analysis and experience. I approach my work in both a formal and aesthetic way. That does not mean that emotionality and sensuality are set aside – on the contrary. These pieces evoke cool expression with sensitive undertones and there by join an abstract, new formalistic movement in contemporary art.My ceramic sculptures tell stories using symbols which are universal. You can interpret these in your own way to tell your own tales, and evoke different moods and emotions. I explore abstract appropriated images from our culture and translates these onto the surface of my sculptures. Each of which are steps in my path toward a personal and unique approach to sculpting in clay.
It has always been my goal as an artist to make work that speaks to the viewer on a deep inner level and provokes some degree of contemplation.