© Othoniel Studio / Image provided by Kukje Gallery / Jean-Michel Othoniel – Precious Stonewall (2020)

Four years after his first solo exhibition at Kukje Gallery, one of Seoul‘s most prominent modern and contemporary art venues, Paris-based artist Jean-Michel Othoniel returns to town. The artist draws inspiration from spiritual practices and religious traditions rooted in different cultures and generations, as well as from his personal experiences. Using materials such as glass, sulphur, and wax, and a wide range of techniques and experiments, Othoniel creates seemingly esoteric artistic statements. Opening on Thu – Dec 17 is a new show, simply entitled New Works, and held at the venue’s newly renovated K1 building, and installed across two exhibition spaces on the ground floor. On display are glass sculptures, lithographs of watercolour drawings, and paintings which mark a new milestone in Othoniel’s artistic practice.

All of these new works were created during the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The exhibition not only presents a ‘new’ and emboldening body of work during this period of distress, but also embodies the artist’s commitment to aesthetic contemplation and the immutable beauty that remains even during our current chaos. The first gallery presents new works from Othoniel’s ongoing series Precious Stonewall, created in dialogue with Indian glass artists from Firozabad, but also a nod to the historic Stonewall Riots in 1969 when the LGBT community stood up against police violence and discrimination in New York City.

Interestingly, the Frenchman considers the brick as one of the most rudimentary and universal elements shared by all humanity, and symbolises the desire for ‘living’. On display is a new version of Precious Stonewall, using two distinctive colours, in addition to Stairs to Paradise, a work constructed with blue glass bricks forming a set of stairs. The passage that connects the first and second exhibition spaces showcases a series of lithographs made from original watercolours that correspond to Precious Stonewall. The second gallery space presents a series of sculptures and paintings depicting roses. The rose is a flower which has long played a key role in Othoniel’s practice, symbolising his great admiration for nature, often reappearing in his work. As a testament of this, six pieces from his La rose du Louvre paintings are shown, four new rose paintings, and four rose sculptures.

Kukje Gallery
54 Samcheong-ro, K1 Building (Jongno-gu)
03053 Seoul
Telephone: +82 2 7358449
Mon-Sat 10-6
Sun 10-5

© Othoniel Studio / Image provided by Kukje Gallery / Jean-Michel Othoniel – Stairs to Paradise (2020)