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The Blacksmith Project

Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul Korea September 28 - October 10, 2002
PaJu Book City, Korea October 10-30, 2003

PANG!... the sound of the thunderous hammer as it strikes a steaming steel rod... Clang!... the second blow is delivered, flattening and manipulating it even further. WOOSH!... the hiss of the hot metal as it mixes with the cool , cool water.... This is the symphony of the blacksmith! Are you interested? You can experience the weight of the tools in this ancient trade. Power up, it is not for the meek!

In European tradition and culture, the blacksmith symbolizes both power and integrity; their heart, hands and mind forged this path. When red-hot iron is hammered it can be split, flattened, twisted, curled or elongated. It also can be fused with other pieces to make a variety of decorative, valuable items. These traditional products of the blacksmith are akin to the primitive weapons and tools seen throughout ancient history. In the modern world, the Blacksmith has taken a backseat to function and efficiency. It is incredibly cost effective to forgo the meticulous assembling process belonging to this ancient trade. But between the lines one might be able to recognize certain architecture and public furniture as endeavors of the trade, a beautiful mix of function, form and style.

The University educational system provides a haven for students interested in these techniques. Sometimes, these large workshops with their abundance of tools, can educate numerous amounts of eager students. It is quite a leap forward from the traditional relationship between a master and his apprentice. But, it can encourage something inside the young mind to open new doors. The activity of the Blacksmith in couched in tradition. The younger generation is constantly pushing the bar forward and upward,, encouraging the growth and development of the modern age. But the rules of the trade must be learned before they are broken, bent or even twisted. So, it is not without the wisdom of these masters that students can accelerate the program but through the masters, and their gifts, service and language. As a result of this relationship, hope breaks a spirit of the age, an awakening of talent on many levels. If the students have the patience and energy, they can even go on to learning about the silversmiths and goldsmiths.

These programs constantly enhance the visions and talents of those enrolled in the journey. It is a path, not a destination that is walked after all. The physical nature of youth is combined with the altruistic understanding of the masters,, thus an era begins: a vibrant and healthy group speaking through their work. It is my pleasure to introduce the fusion between history and the contemporary art world.

Art direction: Amie Ann (AeKyung An)

Jouko Nieminen, Blacksmith Artist, Finland
Jeon Yong-Il, Metal Artist, Professor of Kugmin University
Yi Jong Ho, Professor of Architecture, Hanyang University

Invited artists:
Finland: Jouko Nieminen, Antti Nieminen, Ilkka Laakso, Jyrki Eklund, Upi Anttila, Ilari Lehtonen, Risto Immonen, Pertti Seimola, Marko Anttila
Estonia: Ivar Feldman
Switzerland: Christoph Fridrich
Germany: Heiner Zimmermann
Russia (St. Petersburg): Igor Andrioykhine, Vladimir Sokhonevich
Poland: Mazur Ryszard, Pruzak Waldmar
Hungary: Gabor Szombatzy, Zoltan Takats
Japan: Mitsuo Nitshida, Shin- Ichi Mitzukami