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Sculptor heads to South Korea for symposium

19 July 2006

Monash masters student Mr Michael Bullock has been invited to take part in an international stone sculpture symposium in South Korea.

A Monash masters student is the only Australian artist to be invited to take part in an international sculpture symposium in South Korea.

Mr Michael Bullock said colleagues from the Hanoi College of Fine Arts recommended him for the Boryeong International Stone Sculpture Symposium 2006, based on his work at similar events in Vietnam in 2002 and 2003.

The Mosan Art Museum and Gae Wah Arts and Culture Park are the main organisers of the event, to be held in Boryeong-Si, a small city near the capital, Seoul.

Mr Bullock said stone sculpture symposia were quite common in Asia, as a way of creating permanent outdoor works for public spaces. Pieces created in Boryeong will be placed at the Gae Wah Arts and Culture Park.

He said sculptors at the symposium would work with a type of black granite, common in South Korea.

"It's very different to the type most commonly found in Australia. It's very dense and polishes up with a very lustrous shine," Mr Bullock said. "Conversely, you can leave rough chisel marks as well. It has a wide range of potential effects that you can create."

Chiselling the form from dense black granite will be a departure from Mr Bullock's established sculpting practice, which has largely entailed modelling and casting processes, using materials such as clay, plaster, aluminium and bronze.

"It's an exciting opportunity for me to gain experience with this material, and an opportunity for me to learn more of this process," he said.

In creating a piece for the Boryeong symposium, Mr Bullock will explore themes drawn from his research into traditional Korean Buddhist sculpture, in which form is carved from boulders situated in the landscape. He said it was all about unleashing form.

"Stone can be a medium that contains the form, but also it can house the form, as in a cave. The stone has both a positive and negative potential to it. The process of carving, through reduction, can reveal a ‘shadow' of the figure and form within."