Monday, May 14, 2007

The 4th World Ceramic Biennale

Continuing my theme of festivals worth visiting, we visited the Ceramics World Exposition in Icheon last week.

We took the bus from the Express Bus terminal in Seoul, as suggested on both the KNTO site and the wocef site, to Icheon Bus terminal, a 90 minute journey south from Seoul. On arrival there were no signs indicating the location of the event, luckily the taxi driver understood the word EXPO and dropped us off at the event in less than 5 minutes.

The Expo site is in a valley surrounded by woods and bounded by a man-made lake at the valley mouth. Four temporary gallery areas provide hundreds of artists space to display and sell their ceramic wares. Objects for sale range from small items of jewelry for a few thousand won, to large intricate open-ware celadon vases going for 35 million won. A huge variety of sizes, shapes and colours of plates, vases and decorative pieces were on show.

Walking up the slope we walked through a gallery in the shape of a traditional wood fired kiln. It contained examples and details on the history of ceramics on the peninsula and in Asia in general.

At the head of the valley is the permanent exhibition hall, entrance fee 5,000 won. On the ground floor were seventy entries in the 'Ceramics for expression' half of the competition. Over 2,400 objects from artists around the world were submitted to the competition in two categories. The shortlisted items for the other half 'Ceramics for use' are exhibited at the expo site in Yeoju.

On our way out, the English speaking member of staff stopped us to ask a few questions about our visit to the Expo. She was most distressed to hear that we had not known of a shuttle bus service from Seoul to the Expo. When we showed her the printouts from the websites she promised to get them updated. In the meantime here is a scan of the timetable with our translations on it.

The top list is for the bus from near the Coex mall to Gwangju and back, the second list is from Insa-dong to Icheon and back and final list shows the one bus a day from Insa-dong to Yeoju and back.

She also explained the two other sites for the expo Gwanju and Yeoju are both within 30 minutes drive from Icheon, we originally thought Gwanju was the city in Jellonam-do , four hours drive south of Seoul, but the one you want is in Gyeonggi-do, much closer!

The exhibition closed at 6pm and after a meal at the excellent food court and a walk around the lake that includes the obligatory sculpture garden, we boarded the shuttle bus for Insa-dong for the trip back to Seoul.

The Expo only takes place once every two years and even if you don't think pots are really your thing, I still highly recommend a trip to the event to see the creativity on display there before it ends on May 27th.

I had a day off from photography, which is probably a good thing otherwise I could probably have taken several hundred shots of the weird and wonderful works of art, instead I'll leave you with a shot of four of the winners

courtesy of a Korean site.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have a lot of good info on festivals! Seems like your blog is fairly similar to the one we're trying to get going. See you around!