Chae Rimm continuously worked with lacquer before it became a new form of contemporary art. Creating a new form of contemporary art was a great challenge that required tremendous tenacity and extensive experimentation because it was impossible to achieve by merely changing forms of work or developing new lacquer painting techniques. First of all, the artist should prove that lacquer painting is an art genre that can be elevated to the level of non-functional discussion from functional art through her work, and it should transcend the complex conceptual definition and boundaries of contemporary art. What is more, theories of contemporary art tend to delve into experimentation and the zeitgeist with focus on process as well as the political, social, and cultural independence of the work rather than functional perfection.
Chae Rimm’s ‘lacquer painting’ is firmly rooted in tradition, but it is also evolving into something wholly original and ever more diverse. Her art attracts great attention for her elegant handling of lacquer, traditional craftsmanship underpinned by perfect technique of meticulous jewelry design, and her willingness to bring crafts and contemporary art together as one. If contemporary art is provocative fusion cuisine created by joining experimental, challenging concepts and subversive values of the material and the non-material, behavior, and the avant-garde, Chae Rimm’s art is poetic, emotional landscape of savory flavor created by lacquer painting.
Chae Rimm challenged 3-dimensional art with confidence in painting she acquired based on the functionality she had perfected as a jewelry designer. Just as she expanded the realm of craftsmanship by lacquer painting, Chae Rimm recreates lyrical and flexible 3-dimensional sensitivity of sculpture in relief or panels of the past, while controlling decorative nature of jewelry design. As she discovers her own texture and aesthetic motivation on her journey, Chae Rimm’s art becomes of class of its own, a colorful genre of contemporary art called ‘hybrid aesthetics.’
Chae Rimm poses questions about the situation where materials assume totally different social values as soon as they become functional, as is true of jewelry or personal ornaments. She focuses on finding differences between ‘material’ without functions and the ‘non-material’ to which function is given, and then expresses differences in sensitivities between the things functional and things painterly in detail. Accordingly, function is a label, and she puts symbolic poetry that leads us to discard our prejudices derived from such social label in the container of expanded art called lacquer painting. In other words, Chae Rimm puts on the clothes of pure art once again so that the vital phenomenon of beautiful colors and figures of unique entities can be observed.
– Excerpt from “Symbolism in Poetry by Lacquer Painting” | Lee Yongwoo · Art Academic, Professor at Shanghai University