Ciao Mr. Ettore

a project by Ahryun Lee

category collectible design town Essenbach, Germany


Your intercultural experiences heavily influenced the development of your artistic practice. In what ways?

Multicultural experiences have influenced on my artistic approaches while living in Europe to build my identity as a Korean artist.

Since 2013, it has been an intriguing journey for me to be out of my comfort zone to learn something new from different cultural transitions moving from Seoul to London and now being based near in Munich, Germany.

Intercultural experiences definitely broaden my perspective in Ceramics influenced by different educational experiences in between Korea and Europe.

Korean education taught me many different technical skills more practical ways, on the other hand European was more focusing on the idea development with open discussion, which enables me to become more competent in expressing myself whilst expanding my creative range. Cultural emergence has been important matter to me, my artistic practice has embraced the beauty of both sides in between Traidition and Contemporary also different aspects of East and West.

Your work is characterized by a balance between the unexpected and the familiar. How do you approach the creation of your ceramic pieces? What role do these elements play in conveying your artistic vision and engaging the viewers' senses?

Clay itself has been one of the familiar and accessible materials for me as a sort of playful mud since I was young. Even though I have worked in this criteria over 15 years so far, I still have persistence in this material to explore boundless possibilities in expression. Working with ceramic is more like having a primitive instinct, sometimes playing in between spontaneity and self-discipline, it is an interesting area where you can alter yourself like "Jekyll and Hyde" in the making process as sometimes you become not just precise but also experimental. Driven by bold colors and tactility in ceramics, I try to create a joyful universe as I have faith that the purpose of Art and Design is to create another level of pleasure with extraordinary beauty on it. Hence, the emotion of "Joyfulness" has been important in my work, playful approach to ceramics drives my creativity. Ideas often stem from my childhood memories and activities, my nostalgia towards childlike innocence. My work keeps transforming from everyday interactions with what I learn, contemplate, and evaluate from different cultural experiences through material experimentation. My aim is to create vibrant, bold language in my work so that people can feel optimistic joy through my objects. I hope the viewer can be fascinated by contemporary ceramics, how much ceramic could go further more expressive beyond its function whilst blurring the boundaries between Art and Design.

This object was conceived as part of the Love Letters exhibition, curated by Anna Carnick of Anava Projects for 5VIE during 5VIE Design Week 2023. Who is this sculpture dedicated to, and why?

My Ciao, Mr. Ettore was conceived as an expression of gratitude to trailblazing Italian design legend Ettore Sottsass - one of the most inspiring designers for me. Sottsass's colorful, flamboyant creation has always fascinated me in regards to the fact that the object is literally breathing to give an alive feeling. My pinky-joyful creature is an exuberant response to my favorite Sottsass piece - the nonconformist, almost animal-like Tahiti Lamp, a 1981 design classic. Drawing on colors from Sottsass's iconic piece in homage, I was keen to express my gratitude to this legend.

"Thank you Ettore, for your enthusiasm with your spirit of challenge to bring something new ideas into our lives. From revolutionizing mundane, your radical design enables me to escape from the boredom of everyday life and it boosts my creativity to draw something new out of it. Your work inspires me and always gives me sudden happiness! Thank you for sharing your powerful voice through your design, which influences on young generations like myself that we can be brave enough to share our expression to the world."

If you could gift it to a person, who would it be?

My work was a homage to Ettore Sottsass, so if i could gift it to somebody it would be honored to hand it over to Sottsass's family or his affectionate fans.

Ahryun Lee

meet the _Artist and Designer

Ahryun Lee


1 events

1 galleria