Interview with Jaeyoung Kang, artistic director of the 'All About Attitude' exhibition

News — 22 July 2021

On the occasion of the exhibition "All About Attitude" on display during the Fuorisalone, from 4 to 10 September at Palazzo Litta, we interviewed Jaeyoung Kang, artistic director of the exhibition organised by the Korea Craft & Design Foundation.

What will be the role of design in the post-pandemic? Can design actively become a driver of change?

The pandemic really calls for a global environmental movement to protect the nature from human desires. Since the Industrial Revolution, design has been closely linked to mass production & consumption, which is the direct cause of environmental pollution. Designs and designers of this era are being asked not only to self-criticize and self- reflect, but also to take on the role of a revolutionist who leads a new environmental movement. Designers must stay at the forefront of political correctness to protect human values as well as “ecological” correctness to protect the other and the environment. I think the new design revolution is to become a protector of the environment and not a destroyer. So I wish that the Milan Design Fair contributes towards a new design
that promotes ecological correctness.

The combination of design and craftsmanship has always been a matter of debate in the world of design. What is the link between these two fields?

The two fields are closely linked and interdependent. Design is more connected to mass production & consumption of the capitalistic system, and it is more environmentally destructive because it relies on fossil energy and its chemical by-products.
Crafts on the other hand are more environment-friendly Because less are made and they are used for a long time. However as shown by the automotive industry, the transition from internal combustion engines to eco-friendly energy may not conflict with mass production and consumption systems.

Whether it is craft or design, ecological correctness is now the most important virtue of our time. As they have always been crafts which are produced in small quantities like a work of art, and design which has been popular to the public, will continue to coexist.

All About Attitude is the title of the project that you will present in September during Fuorisalone at Palazzo Litta. What are the main issues of the exhibition?

Korean craft exhibition, “All About Attitude”, is not just an exhibition of craftworks.
It highlights the new attitude towards craftsmanship and craftworks. Crafts should not only be for our needs and satisfaction, and that is why this exhibition examines the horizontal and equal relationships among nature, environment, hands and machines, materials and everything else involved.
In this pandemic crisis crafts should be mindful of all living creatures and its surroundings, and crafts should also practice ethical and social correctness.At the same time, this attitude may be the way to restore the existence and value of crafts and artists surrounded and isolated by anthropocene and capitalocene.

How did you imagine the exhibition itinerary?

The exhibition consists of three themes. The theme of the first room is “All About Earthbound”. “All About Earthbound” refers to all inorganic and organic matters, objects and life on Earth and symbolizes the horizontal and equal relationships of all beings including humans. Craftworks made of natural materials such as soil, metal, wood, lacquer, fiber, and glass constantly create meanings to show respect and hospitality for things on earth.

The theme of the second room is “All About Companion”. The room displays jewelries that are life-long companion objects. These jewelries are made of various materials such as metal, fiber, wood, and silicon, and are filled with numerous memories, secrets, and narratives that connect and transcend time and space. They are not disposables to be used once and thrown away, but beautiful and precious objects that can last for a hundred to a thousand years. These objects not only connect individuals with individuals, but also various generations with civilizations.

The theme of the third room is “All About Posture”. It shows the traditional and modern sedentary culture of Korea. Sedentary and ondol culture is a very unique and original lifestyle that only exists in Korea. I wish to present crafts that combine the most Korean elements with various lifestyles. I hope that craftworks for relaxation and meditation, such as pottery, wood furniture, and metal objects, will serve as an antidote for the body and soul.

How important is to bring a storytelling dimension of the Korean design in the context of Milan Design Week and what does Milan represent for you today?

Crafts are the sum of a wide range of mutually intermediated and combined human-object- natural products. Like the air and sound that cannot be seen or touched but surround all beings and objects, the Korean craft exhibition “All About Attitude” is an attempt to reconstruct the entire relationships among things, beings and matters with friendship and hospitality. I want to share the ethical and social solutions of Korean crafts with people around the world for them to experience.


© — All rights reserved. — Published on 22 July 2021

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