Chae Rin Hwang

Chae Rin Hwang is an object maker and spatial designer living and working in South Korea. In her work she explores the historical and scientific context of nature and human history by reinterpreting the information she obtains into a physical and tangible art form. She enjoys seeing her art becoming formulated and interacted in diverse spatial settings.

If you had access to all the powers, how would you improve the world?
If I had access to all the powers I would end the injustice that goes on in North Korea. I am against forced labour camps where innocent people are tortured and sacrificed for one’s political and religious beliefs. Nobody should be deprived of their dignity and their rights to freely express and exercise their beliefs.

What are the biggest sustainability challenges in your work and how are you addressing them?
I try to use only the materials that are needed, instead of loading myself with unnecessary ones that will end up being a waste.

Which conscious lifestyle choices are you making? And are you considering any new ones?
When consuming, I consider the lifespan of a product, the better the quality the less I will spend in the future. I try to repair everything that breaks and if it is not repairable I try to recycle it by creating art. In fact, all of my home decoration is made from these recycled works of art.

What have you rebelled against in the past, and what are you rebelling against now?
I am someone who does not conform to the trends. Whether it is art, fashion, beauty or ideas, I believe one should maintain one’s own uniqueness and free expression of self. People should be respected for who they are, even if they do not conform with the majority. There is a term in Korean called ‘청개구리 (cheong-gaeguri)’. It means ‘tree frog’, which refers to someone who does not follow the rules and rather goes the opposite way. I like to think that I am that ‘cheong-gaeguri’.

What was the inspiration for your Steinbeisser pieces?
At the time that I made the ‘Excavation Site Plates’ I had just moved back to Korea after living in London for 4 years. I wanted to be reconnected to my roots and started researching archaeological objects from ancient Korean history. There are so many hidden stories that are embedded in these objects that once belonged to my ancestors. Through this experience of studying and reliving the Korean history in a multi-sensory way, I was inspired to retrieve the ancient imagination into the modern world.

Describe your work in 3 words!
Style. Free-spirited. Colorful.

What has been your favorite dinner experience?
My favorite dinner experience was on my 28th birthday, on which I cooked a fusion style dish for my friends at a Hanok, a Korean traditional house. I believe that homemade meals are truly powerful in a sense that it brings people together both physically and in spirit regardless of where they come from. It was such a memorable night in which I was able to share my love and gratitude for my friends through cooking. I wish I could go back to that night again.

What excites you about tomorrow?
I’m excited about the unexpected surprises that are yet to be unfolded in my life. I feel the happiest when I learn about something new as it inspires me to delve deeper into it, moving me to create and express it into an art form. I can become very obsessive over a particular idea or form for which I get teased by my friends.

Which are you 3 favorite pieces on Jouw…?
Jochen Holz’ Sculpture Glass, Luke Shalan’s Spoon and Bowl Plate, and Jeffrey Clancy’s Molded Spoon.