Genesis and Humanism in the Sculpture of Giorgio Eros Morandini and Kyoung Jae Lee

by Giuliana Micoli

This exhibition draws inspiration from my own personal story, when in my twenties I decided to live in Seoul. In those years, at the beginning of the 1980s, that faraway land that was called “the Hermit Kingdom” became my home and my family.

I lived Korea from within, in close contact with its people. I witnessed that particular historical moment when their strong cultural and ethnic individuality coexisted with a ceaseless tension towards progress and the future.

Even though I was on the other side of the world, I was once again living that kind of social experience of when we are part of a big and supportive family, like the one I remembered from my childhood.

It was as though I needed to go back to childhood to “find myself”.

Just standing in front of Kyoung Jae Lee’s sculptures – during a trip to Seoul in March 2017- made me experience again that genuine childlike feeling, in a blissful smile and complete peace of mind. I was facing the work of a man who allows us to be young at every age. These were the feelings that laid the groundwork for the “Bridge of Harmony”.

The goal of this project is to create a widespread feeling of beauty and bliss. It originates from the wish to remind everyone that when different cultures meet it brings about mutual enrichment and inspiration and widens the limited horizons of the individual. Nowadays, internet and technology enable us to come in contact with every corner of the globe instantly. However, a strong presence of fear and suspicion limits their potential, thus preventing the development of all the positive influences that derive from encounters with different cultures.

Conversely, I met Giorgio Eros Morandini through “my” culture. It started from a dialect and an element of homesickness. As I was looking at his works, I was reminded of a familiar sea and memories of days gone by. It also appeared to me as if the stone lost its weight and its hardness, to turn into black and white satin floating in the wind or in the water, within such hard marble, so well “tamed” by the talent of the artist.

His works brought back images of my land, the freshness of the wind, the traces left of receding water, the roughness and the signs of time carved in the rock. His are sculptures that analyse the shapes of Creation and reveal their energy only after a long observation, as if to preserve the most intimate and secret key to Nature itself. These are sculptures that take us back to the genesis of the world, to the dawn of time.

I chose Lee and Morandini intentionally, in order to show that the distance between these two artistic expressions is only apparent, and also to highlight the very different approach of each artist to the artistic form. On the one hand, there is Morandini’s artistic approach, which, in his latest works, aims to combine a classical concept with a contemporary form; on the other, there is the enraptured and dreamlike world of Lee’s figures, which instil in the soul a sense of spirituality, a sort of homely feeling that conveys peace and heartens the world, so lacerated by all kinds of human conflicts.

With “The Bridge of Harmony – Genesis and Humanism in the Sculpture of Giorgio Eros Morandini and Kyoung Jae Lee” I wanted first and foremost to create a need for an intellectual effort and search for the points of contact between these two artistic approaches, as well as between the diverse cultural and social expressions of two so different peoples. This effort aims at finding the truth in the similarities against the falsehood of the differences, in the hope that the symbolic value of this choice may become a source of inspiration and trust in the world.

A most powerful ethical dimension, read within the aesthetic one, is to be found in the international artistic project curated by Giuliana Micoli, which – going beyond the ordinary semantics of “comparing works of art” – pushes the viewer towards a wider and more meaningful expression of humanistic and universal value.

The original idea of the project grew out of Giuliana’s own personal and human story, where geography and memory blend together, filling art with a strong connotation of freedom and harmony. The meaning of “her” present comes back through the relationship between these two different sculptoral expressions now held together by her two beloved lands.

Giovanni Bovecchi, publisher