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Korean Bojagi Comes to New York!

September 7 – October 6, 2018, 3:30pm - 7:00pm, Abrazo Interno Gallery


Opening Reception: September 7th 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Bojagi Workshop: September 9th 1:00pm – 4:00pm

This exhibition will focus on the traditional Korean crafts of bojagi and joomchi. The bojagi is a traditional Korean textile art form that takes the form of a wrapping cloth or tapestry. There are many types of bojagi but the most common type of bojagi is the “min-bo” or “jogak-bo”, which are made of scrap fabrics sewn together by commoners in a manner similar to quilting. Bojagi are designed with themes of health, fertility, longevity, and abundance in mind, and can be found at all levels of Korean society.

On the other hand, joomchi is a unique Korean paper-making tradition which makes textured and colored hand-made paper by repeatedly rubbing and agitating hanji (Korean mulberry paper, which is made of mulberry fiber) with water. The result is a paper 6 times stronger than the original hanji which allows it to be sewn into clothing and used in the production of more functional items like wallets, containers, or even military armor.

As art forms, bojagi and joomchi have spread from Korea to the rest of the world. There are currently many practicing artists of bojagi who reside in Europe and the Americas. As much as they were influenced by the original Korean purveyors of bojagi, these international artists’ works, in turn, have influenced Korean artists as well, resulting in an organic multi-cultural exchange reminiscent of what The Clemente’s broad-minded, collaborative values. The Clemente has continuously demonstrated its commitment to supporting and promoting alternative voices and fellow minorities. Given the large population of Koreans living all throughout New York City, we believe that our exhibition gives a voice to both traditional Korea and newly evolving, emerging Korean culture. The Clemente represents a perfect platform for us to bring our show to the communities on the Lower East Side.

In addition, the subjects of the exhibition are crafts – textiles, sewing, paper-making – which are practiced in almost every society in the world and speak across cultural lines in a universally appreciable manner. Visitors to the exhibition, regardless of their background, will be able to gain new perspectives by comparing and contrasting Korean crafts with their counterparts from their own cultures; the exhibition will allow cultural exchange to take place on a large scale.

The theme of the exhibition will be “An Evolving Tradition”. Over centuries, bojagi and joomchi have developed from their original configurations into a variety of forms, sophisticated and beautiful. In particular, contemporary bojagi have evolved to take the form of architectural works, body ornaments, installations, sculptures, wearable art, and much more. The exhibition will feature a number of traditional and contemporary bojagi and joomchi, to give a sense of both the initial traditions and the evolution of these traditions into art forms more recognized by a contemporary audience. Chunghie Lee will be the guest curator of the bojagi pieces and Jiyoung Chung the guest curator for the joomchi pieces.