I agree with Leonard A. Urso who referred to the metal works of Hye-Jung Sin, which have a sense of being born from metal-like natural objects that wake up the shape of each DNA in due time, as sculpture works. With the reconstituted colorful appearance of a poetic nature, the artist Sin has an overflowing imagination that makes very cold properties of metals into beautiful objects by touching them with warm and deep insights.
“I have been looking for my work’s motifs from nature for a long time. I just encountered the stillness, the grazing of wind, and things scattered in the quiet on the Han River where I stroll one day in the early spring, on Mongdol Beach where I put my feet in a summer, and on the wall where I passed in the late autumn. When I dispel my obsession to make something, my works become ‘a chance meeting’. Walking along the street, like a branch which I bend down and pick up unconsciously, its light smell of dirt emanating from the branch’s surface becomes the works, and when I listen to the warmth of the pebble that my son gave me on the beach, the echo of the waves approaching from a distance becomes a work.” _Hye-Jung Sin
These are the things given as a ‘gifts’ by people known to the artist who has been working on reinterpreting natural objects.
Sin, who doesn’t treat the ‘meaning’ of these gifts lightly, uses them as new work materials by combining ‘resin’.
In the daily grind, where it is hard to encounter Mother Nature, Sin walks around and explores small nature in her spare time.
Even though ‘nature, which is regarded as a very common Cliché for the subject of art works,’ is the topic of Hye-Jung Sin’s works, her works are unique like a natural object with a structure different from any human made objects. Hye-Jung Sin – she is the person who makes eye contact with and observes each of the existences in the world which is repeating the process of creation and extinction, the person who picks up trivial natural objects that no one desires, and the person who finds and admires the energy which is preparing for a new spring from the winter branches left as the frame of the entire beginning of the world. She catches the colorful images of the plant by touching the metal-like sculpture who breaks the sleeping form in a boulder and finds an image.
Like the autumn leaves we can image in the moment of falling along with the wind, like the pebbles we can hear the sound of corresponding with the motion of the waves. These works operate like a button opening the door which leads us to the ‘Mother Nature’ we are dreaming of by causing the resounding senses to go beyond the materialized form.
Materials put on an A4 size paper. She prepares the next works in advance and waits for the ‘time’.
I heard that the experience of the different nature between the US and Korea changes the direction of your works.
Unlike the US, I had to go out intentionally to experience ‘Mother Nature’ since I returned to Korea in 2012. Now I am working on re-collecting nature which is smaller and scattered around me.
I heard that the special training from your teacher Leonard Urso, who you met when you studied for your master’s degree in Metalcraft & Jewelry at the Rochester Institute of Technology, ushered in new perspectives on metal works.
We focused on resolving sensitivity training in one-to-one classes for a year. The way to truly observe nature was by hiking through Mother Nature like Bristol Mountain. The training to see colors and listen to sounds was more like the method to draw a picture than work on a metalcraft studio work. It was weird at first, but after the course at the end of semester the works seemed to erupt. I didn’t even explain the subject of my work, yet everyone could understand the natural object’s beauty that I created. It was the moment of being thrilled by experiencing the moment that didn’t need a single word! The chasing and hammering techniques that Professor Leonard Urso mainly taught me were very useful to express nature. All the pieces fell into place. Even though both work on objectifying nature, the style in the US and Korea is remarkably different. The scale of the works in the US is big and straightforward while the ones in Korea are charming and detailed. I feel that I need to again encounter another color of nature in 5 or 10 years at the latest. So I am considering artists residency program.
What is the beauty that you think about?
Naturalness. When that one originality has naturalness within, an incomparable beauty is revealed.
The Smell of Soil Ⅰ,Ⅱ,Ⅲ,Ⅳ,Ⅴ. 2018. Sterling Silver, Natural Object. 55 x 112 x 15, 85 x 180 x 30, 30 x 206 x 30, 60 x 203 x 28, 110 x 160x 28 mm.
Newness: Reformation of Scattered Thing Ⅰ,Ⅱ,Ⅲ,Ⅳ. 2018. Sterling Silver, Natural Object, Resin. 110 x 140 x 38, 72 x 160 x 36, 95 x 150 x 36, 98 x 150 x 39 mm.
How do you plan to collect natural objects?
Even when I am walking, I just collect the things that catch my eye. The pebbles work was influenced from when I went to the South Sea. Since I don’t have enough time to actively approach nature, I continue the collection of even those experiences however they appear, at every opportunity.
Through which processes does the work rediscover the energy condensed in natural objects and enhance the interpretation of the artist?
After I fully experience a natural object, I bring it to my studio and observe it for a while. I watch the feeling of coming out of a natural object that dries naturally for 2 or 3 months. Whenever I see the skin riven or a vein clearly coming into view after dehydrating, then my infinite imagination gushes out. I set out what technique to apply to this imagination and operate on the natural object by working on metal forming. I start to work early in the morning and continue in one big push until late dawn. After that I just cover the work and go home. The next day, I look it again with calm eyes. If I feel it is too much, and I readjust it. I repeat this process.
Her main material, pure silver, gives us an infinite feeling like a blank piece of white paper without any narration.
The main material of your work is pure silver.
The charm of pure silver is the feeling of moving into infinite space. I should say that pure silver slices through complicated thoughts. Even with the color excluded, the contemplative color covering pure silver is as if the silver is covered with a very bright veil. It has an infinite feeling like blank white paper without any narration.
In the series of ‘Nature of Others’, you introduced a new material – resin. While worrying about a new way to set a story on collecting things through others perspectives, I thought it would be fun if I show it back to the person who gave me the perspective by recreating it in a way hardened by resin. People liked it more than I expected. I cover the resin twice and after drying out the resin water like frying a hot dog in oil, I do the second work.
The work expressed as a ‘broach’, that is to say, the accessory fixed to collar or on the breast with a pin, takes great importance in your works. It seems that your attitude is to take a step back from the point of wearing things directly on the skin like necklaces, rings and earrings.
When I started to think about decoration, there was a limit to ‘my expression’. So, at first I decided to just make what I wanted make, and most of the works that I decided in this manner had an ‘object’ character. It is an actually fact that I once tried to put decorations on an object I made and there were many broaches. However, people who like this work have demanded necklaces, earrings, and rings, so I have increased them inversely. Nowadays, I am trying to find a better cross point. I think the opportunity of participating art fairs such as from the Collect 2019 to the ‘LOOT’ hosted by the Museum of Arts and Design(MAD) in New York scheduled in April next year would be at the first step to develop the chance to make a cross point
↑ The works of the artist that appeared at Collect 2019 at the Saatchi Gallery in London.
← Her personal exhibition <A Conversation with Nature> at the Gainro Gallery in 2016.
→ The installation work of the invitational personal exhibition <Ventilation> held at LEE & BAE Gallery this autumn. Sin, who brings motifs from nature, took a method of installation metal works with dried bark and branches which is protoplasm.
You worked as a jewelry designer in the US for 5 years after graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology. You have experience in business.
Of course, the job of a designer has sufficient value, but I realized that I am a happy person when I make my own things rather than going along with others’ tastes. On the one hand I do arts, but I gained confidence that I truly grasped what ordinary people like, that is to say, the big picture of tendency and taste.
Which works have you let unfold the most to your heart’s desire?
It would be the ‘drawings’ made with the combination of branches and metal, which are the starting point for works such as ‘Late Winter Branch’ and ‘Spring Branch’.
The better you hammer by spinning slowly and beating, the better expression and texture of ‘light’.
The mire, which is mixed with the resin and the clay pot, turns into clay with heat and hardens when it is cool. She sticks objects to this mire and fixes it, and then embosses onto it.
You have made your favorite tools by yourself. I heard that you have used the chasing hammer for 15 years, personally made from copying your teacher’s, cutting the handle of it firsthand and carving 40 relievos.
The saw, the rasp, the sandpaper, the chasing hammer, the chisel, and the welding torch are all the tools I have. I use tools very simply. Because I am just a person who has a fixed capacity and a head full of natural objects, too many tools distract me and too fancy tools delay the works’ materialization process.
What are the tendencies of those collectors who own your art jewelry?
Even though it is jewelry for wearing, the collectors who own the works place meaning in that it is an art work that gives great pleasure to view it as it is.
HYE-JUNG SIN | Metal Works
Born in 1977. After she finished her Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree at the College of Fine Art Department of Metal Art & Design at the Hongik University in Korea, she studied at in Metalcraft & Jewelry M.F.A. at the Rochester Institute of Technology. After graduating, the experience as a commercial jewelry designer in the US for 5 years paved the way for her to choose an active life as an artist who makes her ‘own works’. She works on the subject of nature and pursues meditative and contemplative beauty by giving attention to the original attributes of metal. She has been awarded a Good Design Award and the very best creative design work at the Babara Heinrich Studio, the Very Best Student award at the Women’s Jewelry Association, Grand Prize in fashion jewelry category at the NICHE AWARD in the US, Special selection at the Korea Arts and Craft Award, ITAMI International Jewelry Exhibition in Japan, and so on. She worked as an artist at the residence program of the 4th and 5th generation in the Seoul Art Space Sindang run by the Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture. Her works are housed in the Rochester Institute of Technology Museum, Sungshin Women’s University Museum, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Art Bank in Korea, the Gallery of Art in Legnica, Poland, and many others.