Kyung-Nam Jang was born in Korea where he studied metalworking. When he moved to Japan to further his metalworking studies, he instead discovered glass. He made a decision to enrol at the Toyama City Institute of Glass Art where he completed the the Glass Certification Studies Program and the Advanced Research Studies Program. He subsequently went to Kurashiki in Okayama and earned a master’s degree. He then started teaching at Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts 14 years ago, where he is now Professor.
Kyung-Nam Jang uses kiln casting techniques to create his shapes, and applies cold working techniques such as engraving and polishing to finish his pieces. His works are characterised by fluid shapes, and the contrasting effects of soft curves and straight lines. They are at the same time both strong and delicate. The viewer’s perception of the works changes according to the light which passes through them, giving each piece a sense of depth.
"Recently, I have been thinking about the strength within softness. That is the theme for my new concept. Being soft does not mean being weak. That is totally different. Hard lines, surface and texture is considered to be strong in general. However, a stone becomes round as it keeps rolling down a mountain. The stone gets hit again and again and becomes round. It has gotten rid of the weak parts of itself. People must be the same. People who look round have room in their thoughts. They are gentle to others. They can have a gentle heart in their work, too. I would like to create artworks that make people think how they should live a gentle life in the present moment by looking at my soft-looking artworks. I would like to create artworks that make people stop and think what they should do next.", says the artist.
Jang has held numerous private and group exhibitions since 2006 and has been awarded several prestigious awards. These include the grand prize at the 27th Asahi Present Age Craft General Invitation Exhibition (2009); the grand prize at the world-recognised Toyama Modern Glass Award Exhibition (2005); the grand prize at the Japanese Modern Glass Exhibition (Notojima, 2002); and the grand prize at the Modern Glass Beauty Exhibition (Satsuma, 2000). His works are displayed in contemporary museums across Japan and in the Berengo Glass Museum, Venice.
The piece above - Ai to Lumono, or "So-called love", was made 20 years ago and is now owned by Toyama-city