Ik-Joong Kang: The Moon Jar
The traditional Korean moon jar is at the heart of Kang’s practice, a recurring motif and a powerful metaphor. First made in the 1300s, the jars are simple yet elegant; milky white in colour with a near spherical shape. Made from soft clay, potters make the upper and lower halves separately, connecting them to complete the final form. There is often a slight visible join – an imperfection which adds great meaning for Kang. He compares the moon jar to human beings, filled with air and spirit. The form also encapsulates division and unity, speaking to Kang’s hope that in the future the two Koreas can be united once more.
Kang also points to the fable recounting the death of the Chinese poet Li Bai, who drowned trying to seize the moon’s reflection. The moon symbolises longing – a place of immortality and connection to the afterlife, a place where people store their dreams.