The New York gallery Maison Gerard has devoted its latest staging to the monumental, abstract stone works of the Korean sculptor Yongjin Han. The retrospective, which opened this week, traces the master sculptor’s career from its inception to the present day. Widely respected and considered a pioneer who adapted Korea’s traditions of stone carving to refined sculpture, Han’s hand-tooled works are a poetic articulation of natural form.
Han’s sculptures respect the provenance, character and energy of the stone used. The 20 sculptures exhibited at Maison Gerard – Han’s first exhibition in New York – also include a selection of early wood works and a bronze piece, in addition to key stone works. An immensely personal selection, Han has also included several unfinished creations that he still deems significant, thus offering visitors unprecedented insight into his simple, yet physically demanding process. Han sums up his meticulously empathetic approach as such: ‘As stone has been around since the beginning of time, it has much to teach us if we care to slow down and listen. Stone is the backbone supporting the world. It contains all time.’
To do the poetic works due justice, Maison Gerard has recreated Han’s studio as a backdrop for the exhibition. An array of drawings and sketches, which Han makes during his travels, featuring everyday objects including coffee cups and cigarette packs, are also on display. With a career spanning decades and works in numerous museums and private collections worldwide, the opportunity to get up close and intimate with Han’s practice is one not to be missed.