Yoo Choongmok graduated Namseoul University in 2004 with a BFA in Environmental Art and Design (Glass). He graduated the University of Sunderland in 2013 with an MA (distinction) in Visual Practice (Glass). He completed his PhD studies in IT Fusion Design at the Seoul National University of Science and Technology in 2016.
Yoo Choongmok’s works are modern interpretations of Korean aesthetics from their traditional and classical forms. He works with glass as his primary material to explore the properties and potentials of the medium, expanding his body of work into new dimensions. The artist’s most recent explorations have led him to the canvas, where glass droplets have trickled on to the surface.
The artist’s works are largely inspired and informed by traditional Korean dancheong (丹靑 - multicolored paintwork on wooden structures), which follow the color scheme of obangsaek (五方色, five colors–white, black, blue, yellow, and red–that represent the five cardinal directions and the five elements of life). More specifically, the artist reinterprets the classical lines, forms, and colors from the window frames and fixtures of traditional Korean architecture into various levels of abstraction.
The droplet-like glass objects in his works stand out against the rough (grana rossa) canvas fabric. The transparent, shimmering glass droplets absorb light from nearby sources of illumination, casting seemingly shifted shadows that achieve a variegated impression.
Yoo Choongmok believes that the shimmer can blur the boundaries between dimensional concepts, drawing its viewers into simultaneously think of the past, present, and the future.
And much like water droplets formed by condensation in the atmosphere, the artist believes that experiences are what constitute the true self. The shimmering water droplets are his most significant source of nutriment and polestar for his identity.
The harmonious beauty of lines, planes, colors, and shimmering vitality of glass droplets painted and placed on canvas echo across dimensions and into the lasting impression of viewers.
"All of my work is a communication tool and visual language that can specifically express the emotional ideas felt through personal experiences."
Over ten years of living in another country made me think more desperately about my identity and self than any other situation. After returning home, many things have changed in Korea. The rapidly changing Korean society rather gave me time to think more deeply about the past. In particular, I looked back on and studied Korean art in the past, and expressed each inspiration in visual language. My work abstractly expresses the harmony of lines, sides, and three dimensions and the vertical and horizontality, which are the basis of all compositions, based on the dancheong and five colors representing Korea.
In particular, the brilliance of glass droplets plays a role in making people forget the concept of dimension for a while and has the visual power to think about the past, modernity, and future at the same time.
For me, droplets mean both the beginning and the end. I think water droplets create a true self by accumulating all my experiences, just as moisture in the air gathers to become an individual and creates numerous lives. Glass is the greatest moisture and identity that I can choose the artist's life so far.