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From Fabric to Paper -   Consulate General of the Republic of Korea  •   San Francisco, California
September 30, 2019 - December 27, 2019
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"From Fabric to Paper" features works by Youngmin Lee and Steph Rue. Active in the Bay Area, the two Korean American artists reinterpret and expand the tradition of Korean bojagi (wrapping cloth). In the traditional Korean society, anonymous women created bojagi with fabric remnants once used in daily life, such as bedding and clothing. In the male dominated traditional society, Korean women were not allowed to formally learn art or publicly practice art making. Thus, creating various household crafts including bojagi was the only one way to express their artistic talents.

Bojagi are meaningful in tracing women’s lives in the past. As the bojagi making was not strictly bounded in rules, bojagi ironically demonstrate the artistic instinct and creative design of grandmothers and mothers. Furthermore, the compositions and color arrangements in bojagi are considered to contain the modern and contemporary art aesthetics. Some critics compare traditional bojagi with paintings by a famous Dutch artist, Piet Mondrian (1872-1944). Youngmin Lee is a bojagi artist and Steph Rue works with hanji (Korean mulberry paper).

In this exhibition, both use bojagi methods and skills to create their work, however, they mainly use two different materials, fabric and paper. Although there are several techniques in making bojagi in the past, there is no written records; in the past, the techniques and methods were transmitted from women to women. Moreover, it was just two or three decades ago that bojagi came to be recognized as an art form. Lee and Rue have extensively researched the bojagi making and techniques, and they endeavor to apply their findings to contemporary art. Indeed, both have actively revived the bojagi tradition and its authentic techniques.

Both artists in the exhibition have different backgrounds. Yougmin Lee was trained as a fabric artist in Korea and became a specialist of bojagi in the United States. Steph Rue learned book art in the States and has been active as a paper making artist here. Although their materials for artworks and backgrounds are different, Lee and Rue are passionate in upholding and reinventing the bojagi tradition, a very unique form of Korean textile art. Bojagi embodies the philosophy of recycling and up-cycling, as the works are made from pieces of fabric leftover from other projects. It also carries wishes for the well-being and happiness of its recipients. Working together, Lee and Rue hope to maintain the philosophy of bojagi making, a tradition which began many hundreds of years ago in Korea by women into a unique art form of Korea.


Youngmin Lee - Remnants of Memory



Venue Info:
Consulate General of the Republic of Korea
3500 Clay St. 
San Francisco, CA 94118
United States