The Korea Herald


Korean Craft Show gets thoughtful for Milan Design Week

By Choi Si-young

Published : April 11, 2024 - 15:14

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A set of wooden teaware (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism) A set of wooden teaware (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)

Over 630 works from more than 20 South Korean artisans will be featured at this year’s Korean Craft Show during Milan Design Week next week, under the theme “Thoughts on Thickness.”

According to the Culture Ministry, the body backing the craft show for the last 12 years, two exhibitions will take center stage this time, with one sideline exhibit set up outdoors in the northern Italian city from Monday to April 21.

The main exhibits will explore objects of varying thickness made of wood, paper, glass, ceramics and metal. Tools used for the making and presentation of tea will also be put on show, including wooden and ceramic teaware as well as tablecloths. The presentation is meant to study the concept of “sobak,” or “plain.”

The outdoor exhibition will show “madang,” an open space attached to a house that residents use to rest and work. The space, which connects the inside and outside, is meant to represent communication.

“We will look at materials artisans used and how they used them. I hope people could see through the presentation the widened dimensions Korean craftsmanship communicates, because it is used to make something and to provoke thoughts.” said Choi Joo-yeon, the show’s artistic director.

The Culture Ministry expects the show to provide momentum into another global event, like Paris Design Week, which is scheduled for Sept. 5-14. By the end of this year, the ministry will set up the K-Brand Center in Dubai, a promotional booth exclusively dealing with Korean crafts.

The ministry said it will provide Korean artisans with government funds to take part in international fairs, as well as workshops with services needed to expand their ties with foreign buyers.

“We will double down on policy support for Korean crafts to take center stage as Korea’s global cultural profile has risen. Korean craft embodies not only craftsmanship, but also what’s culturally Korean,” the ministry added.