Mimi Joung is a London-based South Korean ceramic artist who completed her Master’s degree in ceramics and art at the Royal College of Art. She is also a member of the Royal Society of Sculptors.
A conceptual intersection of literature and craftmanship creates together another remarkable art piece. Mimi's body of works for her upcoming summer exhibition reflects her remarkable talent in her craftmanship, often depicting inspiration from literature and her personal response to various readings. She enjoys the nature of storytelling embedded in writing - whether it is philosophical, playful or prophetic. Translating these qualities into visual stories, she uses her hands to mould artworks that can be perceived as landscapes, containers, or sculptures, carrying narratives that resonate with her audience.
For several years, Mimi has been working on a series inspired by “In Watermelon Sugar,’’ a short novel written by American novelist Richard Brautigan in 1968. Each chapter of the novel is transformed into incredible porcelain sculptures. Using porcelain slip, she literally writes out the chapter, coiling it together and starting and ending each sculpture at the respective chapters’ beginning and end. Her work delves into both the internal and external aspects, where the interplay of light and colour evokes profound emotional responses, as is the magical characteristic of all her works.
Mimi believes that colour can deceive us, adding new layers of meaning to her work and our perceptions. Brautigan’s book itself narrates darkness and dystopia, describing the nature of human existence and the endless miserable desires of humanity. However, the vivid colour in the book leads us toward a new perspective, reflecting the warmth and joy of life that helps us overcome our negativity and contradictions. He describes that the interior aspects of human lives are painful and cruel, while the surface of our ordinary life or world ironically appears superficially peaceful and pleasant, represented by beautifully vivid colours.
“I create my artworks by tracing and taping based on each chapter of Brautigan’s novel, weaving together dream worlds, surreal landscapes, and reflections of our individual displacement within his imagined utopias and dystopias. Similar to our many visions, hopes and dreams, it collapses and despairs in the fire of reality. In the same way, my completed but unfired artwork collapses in the intense heat of the kiln. Through my artistic process, I have deeply contemplated the concepts of utopia and dystopia. Is the pursuit of perfection a flawed search for an ideal utopia? And does the distorted and imperfect form bring us closer to the real utopia that encompasses our imperfect lives?”
Mimi’s works are blurred and intertwined by fragile elements with soft pastel colours and sometimes glamorous but playful shapes, juxtaposing utopia and dystopia, sweetness and cruelty, and darkness and brightness based on our reality. By merging the concepts of utopia and dystopia, she creates another level of blurred perception or understanding of our reality.
As an award-winning artist, Mimi has exhibited her works extensively in the UK and internationally. She currently works and lives in London.