Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Jewelry and Metalsmithing
Wild Power is a journey to understand myself by creating wearable pieces representing aspects of my character. A human body is limited physically and it cannot show the whole identity of a person. I have desired to empower myself and also express my complex innermost feelings by ornamenting my body with another layer. This aspiration has motivated me to make wearable objects with diverse and different qualities of beauty. Especially, I have thought for a long time about how fashion can strengthen a women’s power living under societal standards that treats gender differently. From this interest, my artwork naturally reflects my identity as a woman. My jewelry shows my desire to overcome the limited images available to me in the conservative society of Korea. Creating jewelry is how I can follow my instincts and furthermore break from the social expectations placed on women. The compact clusters of my pieces are formed by embracing the conflicting moments between social taboos and my identity. I confront my vulnerability while keeping the other part strong. I find psychological comfort with confidence when I get to be my sincere self. My creative moment is indulging in fantasy and it enables me to evolve my true identity in reality.
My pieces are compact and clustered, embracing all the conflicting moments between social taboos and my identity. I reclaim and deconstruct idealized women’s characteristics in societies such as delicacy and softness by hybridizing them with my personal desires. I reference protective and aggressive forms from armors, weapons, reptiles and sea creatures, while using delicate and soft qualities from beading, embroidery, and fabric 26 Abstract 27 traditionally used in women’s garments. As my work contains diverse aesthetics, the space of creation and the material usage also become varied. I use multiple materials and methods for making a piece. For embroidery, beading and stitching, I have quiet and gentle moments of making in my home. For metal fabrication, however, I work in a metal studio with power tools and chemicals. I balance the calm and serene with the wild and aggressive in my process of making. Diverse shapes, varied techniques, and multiple materials used, all collide in one object.
My work proposes the new version of woman’s image for breaking out from the confined feminine image of a social stereotype. My jewelry is intended to protect the wearer with a protective look and at the same time maintain the soft and elegant side of wearer. I hope my jewelry will act as a sign and signifier, which marks the wearer in a positive and empowering way. I also aspire that if the wearer has experienced a hardship as a woman, this could be overcome it by redefining her identity with my jewelry. I continuously strive to create the shapes which can give power to women and show their unique character by changing existing social constructions.
Han, Iris, "Wild power" (2018). Masters Theses. 259.
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