Profiles

Jiha Moon — Collision of History and Pop Culture

Image Elizabeth Carberry for East City Art.

Ceramics by Jiha Moon. Image Elizabeth Carberry for East City Art.

Andrea Pollan closed the Curator’s Office gallery on 14th Street in 2013. Since then her focus has been finding new space and continuing to represent her artists on a local and international level. In July, however, Pollan opened the doors to her home to create an intimate salon featuring the work of Jiha Moon, the longest standing artist affiliated with Curator’s Office.

Aptly titled Welcome to My Home, Moon shares her whimsical, playful work that combines the cultures of the places she calls home—Korea and the United States. The exhibition is a balanced group of Moon’s works on paper, prints and ceramics. Moon’s work is a playful interpretation of how modern culture blends with the history of her Korean heritage. When she moved to the United States, she was constantly reminded of the fact that she was Korean, and she says that “it was necessary that [she] think about combining different cultures with [her] own root that represent who [she is] as an artist.” Often blending pop culture with history, Moon’s work fuses images of icons such as the bird from the Twitter logo with ancient gods of China, Japan and Korea. Perhaps a commentary on whom we really worship in the 21st Century.

Image by Elizabeth Carberry for East City Art.

Moon’s Works on Paper. Image by Elizabeth Carberry for East City Art.

In Welcome to My Home, Moon elevates her works on paper to a more tangible level, by creating ceramics in the shape of traditional Korean Norigae and Chinese Fortune Cookies. Her ceramics contain her signature playful imagery in the color palettes and delicate nature that you would find in traditional Asian ceramics and pottery or perhaps Delftware, that subtle color blue that outlines the bowl, plate, or in this case fortune cookie. Moon said that she “love[s] ceramic because it has so much history in the East and West and in their exchanges, historically.” But, Moon takes her ceramics from freestanding sculptures to wall mounted, by recreating the traditional Norigae, a customary Korean decorative pendent that women wear for good fortune, youth, wealth and as a fashion accessory.

Image by Elizabeth Carberry for East City Art.

Moon’s interpretation of Norigae. Image by Elizabeth Carberry for East City Art.

Fueled by her love of folk art and craft, Moon uses the Norigae to tell a story of race, identity and culture. She is fascinated by the Norigae but enjoys recreating them in her style but with different materials–instead of a gemstone, Moon creates a ceramic jewel; instead of a silk ribbon Moon uses synthetic hair. Each of Moon’s Norigae is made with a cultural identity, each hand made, each with materials, colors and textures meticulously selected to tell that story. For example, her Norigae titled “New Bride” is made with bright pinks and braids of synthetic hair, a comment on the hyper feminine way that weddings have become. She is excited that these Norigae can create a powerful statement together, creating personae out of her art.

Perhaps what makes the show feel so accessible and relatable is that the location, in Pollan’s home, allows one to experience art the way it should be experienced every day. Moon creates her work with the intent to ultimately share within a home, office, or public space, outside of studio or gallery walls, so, to see the work already presented in this manner, made it more accessible. Curatorially, Welcome to My Home eliminates the standard, white cube gallery model, making the works more tangible and authentic for any viewer; something Moon says is “cool and contemporary.” The show allows you to envision what Moon’s work would look like in real life, on your walls.


Welcome to My Home is on view by appointment only. Contact Andrea Pollan via email at [email protected]

For more information on Jiha Moon visit www.jihamoon.com and see her video interview here, vimeo.com/126450796.


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Elizabeth Carberry
Authored by: Elizabeth Carberry

Elizabeth Carberry is the founder and creative operations director of ArtSee, an arts management agency. Inspired by art in all its forms, Elizabeth’s passion for art and culture began as a child living in Milan, Italy, surrounded by the works of the great artists and has thrived in the Washington, DC community​. Elizabeth’s vision of ArtSee incorporates her three great loves: communications, curating, and art. Through ArtSee, artists and art enthusiasts will find an advocate and ally in its founder. Visit www.artseedc.com for more information..