Art Space opening exhibition, Weaving Narratives: Art and Labour

Weaving Narratives: Art and Labour is the first and opening exhibition of Mellqvist & Jung Art Space, curated by Stockholm based independent curator Jeong Won Chae and Mellqvist & Jung co-founder Judy Hyunjoo Jung.

Mellqvist & Jung is pleased to invite Korean artist Minhae Kim and introduce the beauty of modern Korean handcrafted artwork with a unique blend of traditional colours and her artistic perspective on art and labour, which created motive for these artworks. 

Minhae Kim is a visual artist based in Seoul, South Korea. Her main interest is to explore how society can function through socially engaged arts. She is interested in the dialogue between art practices and labour, which relates to topics of history, local communities, gender issues, and identity.

Motive: Labour, as a Profitable Art Practice 

Since 2018, Kim has been seeking to archive stories of makers (technicians) of Hanbok, Korean traditional clothes, in an old local market. This market, called Gwangjang market, is the only place where the hanbok is handmade with the traditional way in production today.

Kim found the beauty of the hand-craftsmanship from their way of crafts; weaving fabrics, embroidering, and gilding. From the perspective of mass production, this process was old-fashioned and uneconomical, but paradoxically, it feels like an artistic practice, such as La Maison Lesage, CHANEL’s handmade embroidery workshop in France.
She launched an art project called Labour, as a profitable art practice, and facilitated the technicians involving in this new type of profitable production; a series of silk bags.

Artistic Perspective: The modern Korean Identity with Colorful and Meaningful Embroidery

Mellqvist & Jung commissioned a site-specific installation, which is installed at the main bar counter in their space. One of the co-founders Judy Hyunjoo Jung invited Minhae Kim to embody the Korean modern identity with artwork, which brings colorfulness, bright energy, and social meaningfulness.
Kim unfolded her artistic manoeuvres with a variety of traditional Korean colours, fabrics, and embroidery patterns to give a lively and unique identity.

This commission is also produced in collaboration with Gwangjang market technicians. 

Ongoing: Series of Silk eco-bags inspired by Hanbok 

Together with the commission, two different series of Silk eco-bags are also shown.

One is Korean traditional bags, called “Bok Jumeoni” with pheasant embroidery. In Korean history, pheasant has auspicious meaning; it is the one that conveys the will of God; it means also richness and fecundity.

The other one is silk tote bags with tiger embroidery. Tiger is the symbol animal of Korea and the most popular character in Korean traditional paintings. This witty tiger is adapted from a Korean folk painting called The magpie and the tiger.
Colours of silk bags are adopted from nature; red from camellia flower (Korean
fire), yellow from Korean melon, green from watermelon, black from oriental ink, and so on.

By transforming the space into an unconventional gallery, Mellqvist & Jung offers a synaesthetic experience, which weaves cross-cultural foods, artworks, and narratives. 


Weaving Narratives: Art and Labour
Date: 5 June - 3 September 2020 
Venue: Mellqvist & Jung Art Space (Hammarby alle 130, Stockholm)
Organised by Mellqvist & Jung AB
Curated by Jeong Won Chae, Judy Hyunjoo Jung


Written by Jeong Chae