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Ceramics & Glass (MA)

Shinhye You

Shinye You studied at Kookmin University, South Korea until 2020, gaining a BA and an MA in Ceramics, and then at the Royal College of Art for an MA in Ceramics & Glass, graduating in 2023.


2023 Summer Open Exhibition, The Assembly House, Norwich UK

2023 RCA WiP Show, Preston’s House, London UK

2023 Charlotte Fraser Prize Winner(RCA C&G)

2022 Lighting the Onion Garden, Onion Garden, London UK

2022 Warm Exhibition with Sun and Wind, Leesu Gallery, South Korea

2021 Bursting in the Neutral Zone, Sugarhouse Studio, London UK

2021 RCA WiP Show, Online Exhibition

2017 Junk User's Guide, National Folklore Museum, South Korea

2017 Empathy and Space, Gallery Hans, South Korea

2017 Planation, Gallery Iang, South Korea

2017 Yeom Cheon Shoes Museum Design Team, Yeom Cheon Handmade Shoes Street, South Korea


2020 ‘A Note About the Usefulness of Prison Art’, Korean Journal of Correctional Discourse Vol.14 No.2 

Degree Details

School of Arts & HumanitiesCeramics & Glass (MA)RCA2023 at Truman Brewery

Truman Brewery, F Block, Ground, first and second floors

Person with long hair sitting on the floor while hugging her knees and a ceramic between her feet.

Shinhye You constructs fiction that follows the principles of magical realism and translates them into visual forms. Each ceramic piece possesses a unique story of its own. The pieces become evidence of a written story, allowing the allegorical figures to become alive in our world. Intertwined between the allegory and the existing world, You's artworks bring stories to life and initiate conversations between the readers and the figures. Shinhye believes clay and its transformation into ceramics have similarities to the creation of a fictional world with visible words. Through the ceramics that are depicted in the stories, the magic within once again gains life.

The ceramics are the visualised form of the relics, bringing the magical element to the real world. The stories and the ceramics coexist, and the collaboration expands the world where the artworks stand, transforming them from plinths to a magical world. 

*Photographed by Katia Autier


All writings shown between the images are a tribute to the artist’s ceramics. The ceramics and the fiction coexist, and together they bring the fictional world to the real world.

The living stones are born after death, living afterlife. The stories depict the life of the people. As the stones belong to the people depicted in the stories, people can speculate and imagine the relationship between the life of the owners and the characteristics of the stones. For your imagination, I will not inform you about the corresponding stones to the stories.

All stories are written in Korean and then translated into English by the artist. Any kind of collaboration with humans or artificial intelligence has not been involved in the creation of the stories.

A black willow tree with long leaves
A black willow tree with long leaves
Till Death Tears Us ApartBlack Clay 14x25x14cm

Evidence of Being

Summer or not she was covered in sweat. Effortlessly stripping her clothes off she climbed to bed immediately. The sheet soaked her sweat away. The whole room reeked of horrid scent. I shivered. She cramped her blanket in her arms and rubbed her cheek. Every night she slept with a corner of the blanket in her hand. The rest of the blanket covered her body or either in between her legs. The blanket was covered with her saliva, sweat, and skin.

Why do you have that blanket?

Some habits of relieving anxiety can be inherited. My mother used to play with my ear when she needed comfort. I inherited the habit of feeling comfort through my fingers. I feel the blanket in my hands, and I feel the muscles at ease.

Some nights I hid her blanket. On those nights she twitched her legs till morning, groaning.


You smell different. You smell like boiled vinegar.

She visited me two hours ago before his visit. I damned his intuition, but it was obvious. The scent was radiating. He sniffed my neck and withdrew the smile on his face. But he could never imagine me swimming on the bed with a girl. I got away with it.

She used to carry a journal, the size of a palm, always sweaty, gradually crumbling. She recorded her observation of me in the journal. On some pages, she described what I wore that day or said that day. Some had only repetitive words: my name. She burned three pages black with thousand three syllables. She always concluded her daily notes with ‘I like you.’ Later she said she couldn’t possibly write down that she loved me as nothing about our relationship was confirmed or official.

Her intense smell was hard to ignore. People would immediately notice her presence the moment they entered the room. One of her friends asked me how I could live with her. I looked at her but she silently sipped her spirit. She could never smell herself.


A sterilized body cannot create a scent. No liquid came out of her pores and therefore no scent. After more than ten times of showering in the washing machine, her clothes lost her too. She used to wear perfume that was aimed at people who have a strong odor. But the perfume wasn’t mighty enough to hide her. Mint and neroli mixed up with her scent and created an indescribable sense of smell. Pickles? No, something fermented, something like fermented skates with vinegar. I wonder if your stone has a scent too.

The journal was a gift to me. I never disclosed it. A certain moment in her life was hidden in a small collection of papers. I could smell her sweat that smeared through the pages. Now I wanted to return it. I went to her parent’s house. Far away from Seoul, the house was in the middle of rice paddies. The horizon was blocked by northern mountains, not buildings with shining windows. All the farmers with sunburnt skin had darker stains on the back of their shirts. In the backyard, her mother was drying laundry in the blazing sunlight. Strings floated in the air; each end tightened to steel pipes that pierced the ground. A white blanket, transparently worn out, flung with the wind. She slapped the blanket two or three times to get rid of the dust. Through the clash particles departed the blanket. Particles filled the vast space. To my nostril. To the rice paddies. To the sweaty shirts of farmers. To the mountains. I shivered.

A reduction fired porcelain ball standing on the floor
In The Name Of SacrificePorcelain 15x11x11cm
detail shot

Computer Death

When I found an unfamiliar icon on my screen, I considered it as a trace my niece has left from the last holiday. Little niece should have fled to my room from drunken adults and downloaded a temporary delight. I knew it was a shortcut, and went to the program list to eliminate the original file. From the list organised in the order of recent updates, there wasn’t a corresponding name. Instead, a game that I installed a decade ago was on the top without any warning.


It was a time when games like creating a new life in a virtual world gained popularity. The most sensational game was expensive, but everybody played it. I didn’t want any of my status or accomplishments in the game to be disclosed or compared to my acquaintances. Hence I bought a relatively cheap but similar game from an independent game platform. Not like realistic FPS games, characters roamed the 2D background like ants, but it was good enough for me. There were few players and every user became old faces. Like typical stagnant games, users welcomed newcomers. To the Newbie with white basic shirts and a wooden knife, I provided old equipment of mine. After receiving undeserved appreciation, I was flattered and helped Newbie periodically.

Hunting and gathering or cutting trees were simple tasks that my index finger carried out. Timid tasks, but it was better with a companion. We threw silly jokes through headphones while catching rabbits.

In the game, you could build your own house, have a partner, and bear babies. The babies were NPCs without a human behind them, so they were born in animal forms and remained in the house. Extra skills and experiences were given to users through marriage and childcare, and it was common for users to share houses with close friends. I deconstructed my old house and started to virtually cohabit with Newbie in a new house. There was no gender, and the baby was born from a low-resolution egg.

Oddly enough, our baby had a human form. With a white diaper, the baby’s crying face flickered. We joyed for winning a hidden quest and experimented with the baby to complete the mission. Our baby born in the game was gradually capable of expressing words and sentences, not like the other animal babies. As if it was programmed to learn from the data provided by us, it developed in stages. I remember admiring the quality despite its low budget. One week later, the baby started to walk. After one month, we could have simple conversations. We nursed the baby for more than 10 hours a day. Turning into a child, we found an intrinsic and useful function of our offspring. If we equip it when we go hunting, the prey doubles. As so we took advantage of it every time we went out to the forest until the summer vacation ended.

It was two weeks after the start of the term when I accessed the game. I was overwhelmed by the never-ending march of pints and forgot about my obsession with the game. Newbie texted me saying that something went wrong. With familiar music, I was summoned to my own house. The child was aiming directly at my summon point with the bow we used to hunt with. Regarding the size of the child on the screen, it grew.

[You have left me.] A word balloon popped up.

Should I complain to the company for creating an unnecessary violent scene? Or should I report it as a bug? According to Newbie who already tried to fix the ‘problem’, if you’re hit by the child’s arrow, your blood will discharge and have to reload from the saving point. The problem was that it was constantly shooting arrows, making it impossible to be logged in for more than one second.

[I will never do that again.]

After all, I was sure it was an advanced quest like any other hidden ones. My plan was to dance along and make a complaint at the Q&A. Term started, and I won’t be able to have access often. If the quest counts the disconnected times, I will fail it anyway.

The child lowered its bow and hugged me. Technically, it demonstrated the motion of hugging. Flickering. With guilt and responsibility that I could not explain, I went out for the last hunt with my child. Tucking the bed, I never accessed the game again.


The icon named ‘the stone’ had the shape of a perfect sphere. It was persistent in securing its life and kept reviving after elimination. It expanded its volume as well. The internet went slow, and the screen started to crack. I was ready to terminate the computer. I double-clicked the icon. It asked me to choose what kind of program I would like to connect with. All the options were useless except one rendering program. Placed in the middle of x, y, and z, the ellipsoid seemed nothing peculiar. I asked my friend to borrow a 3D printer and printed the stone. The computer gasped for breath through the fan. I went out for a smoke.

Distorting all the files, programs, and images in the computer, revealed the child’s shapeless existence. Slowly given a face through lines and finally granted a form, it abandoned its last shelter. The tangled wires behind the overheated computer started to make sparks and the carpet was on fire. Like a planet devouring including itself, all was on fire. Like a spoiled kid shooting arrows.

A porcelain piece with the surface covered with tiny bits of organs
Ambivalent HomePorcelain 32x18x17cm
detail shot
detail shot
A black sculpture of a wolf howling to the sky
The LossBlack Clay 21x39x17cm
A black ceramic with spiky organs that have tongues on the surface.
MedusaBlack Clay 22x9x12cm
detail shot

Lost And Found

I hold my breath in my pitch-dark room. All objects are paralyzed. I imagine them playing dead after I leave the room. Or would the stone grow when I look away; like it slowly, steadily emerged from the earth without an eye?

A crack ripped the stiff silence. The stone tumbled down the table.


My grandparents were farmers. I was raised by my grandparents due to my parents’ ambition in work. I grew up with dragonflies holding on to rice, centipedes crawling on a freshly weeded field, and bees resting inside an eggplant’s bud. Granny placed me under the shade of a big tree. The place was resonating with the sounds of living beings. Trains devoured all the sounds as they ran. As it receded, little sounds tuned up. Insects and greens, they had timid but clear sounds. I once witnessed a garden balsam burst its seeds. The plant endured a mouthful of seed until it couldn’t, and spitted out all the black marbles with a remarkable speed. The explosion reminded me that all life moves at its own speed. Lifeless as it seems still, those seeds will travel without will until they find a home, and release anchors.

Granny was a goddess of the earth. Anyone who watched her neaten the field with her bare hands and see the perfect grooves will believe me. Before the black dirt’s surface dried to ochre brown, she finished the work. A newly dug field had a rich scent. I could never forget it. I promised myself to have a house with a small garden.

It was because the house had a backyard in a deadlock of junk. It was obvious that it received no attention for a few years. Pedestrians threw away rubbish in their hands and the backyard smelled like a dumping ground eaten up by microorganisms. The agent tried to comfort me with the low price. He suggested that I should hire a cleaning company, giving me a business card. Because of the wildflowers that peeked through an unrecognizable piece of furniture, I said yes.

The truck with rotten furniture went far and I grabbed a hoe. First I weeded and dug out the root. I took a deep breath of black dirt. I removed all the rocks that could hinder the growth of vegetables. The stone was one of them. The stone lost a bump as I hit it with my hoe. I grabbed the stone and with a light stun my finger was bleeding. Thinking it might be a shard of glass from the furniture, I looked again and realized it was a living stone. I dropped the stone as if I touched a dead body.

I didn’t want to know why a living stone that is only born after death was in my new backyard. Recently rituals faded away and people tend to keep the stones underground rather than on the table. Bodies are always terminated but in this case, I had to be sure. I dug more but the dirt only got fresher. I didn’t discover anything terrifying like bones. If it was a stone of an ancient ancestor I would donate it to a museum but regarding the size of the stone, it didn’t live long. A recent death. Cars are cheaper than a square foot in a cemetery these days, and rituals in homes are perishing, so some grind them and free them with the wind. Why did this stone never receive the least generosity as grinding? Living stones had their own speed of life. All life deserved to be respected. I brought the stone home.


It could exert relatively big movements by changing the center of gravity through growing organs. The repetitive movements had me wondering if it is intentional and if so, where it is headed to. The organs only grew on the bottom. That is how it rolled. Connect the starting and current points, you will know the direction. It had a destination.


Tomatoes fruited in the garden. Spiders kept building webs between the tomato leaves and twice a week I deconstructed their house. Aligned tomatoes ripened in order. The ground is now firm as the root deepens, and water evaporates. Earth hid life with its hard skin. I hoped the spiders found a home on another ground.

I took the stone to the police. Maybe they could figure out the owner through the tissues on the stone, and I lacked the courage to keep it. The police seemed to receive such abandoned stones quite often; they asked me to put them inside a plastic bucket on the corner and said they’ll take care of it. They didn’t ask for my name nor requested a paper report. Worried that the stone would lose an organ if clashed with other stones, I placed the stone gently on the top of the pile. The transparent bucket was foggy. Crumbled stones became dust and clouded the surface and the bottom of the bucket. Even if dishonored stones are identified, I doubt that they will be cherished. If they once again rest in human hands, would they return to the hands of the abandoner, or to the hands of a seeker?

Half reduction fired porcelain piece with long organs bending with the wind
WindyPorcelain 26x13x11cm
A black skull with spikes
The WitnessBlack Clay 24x17x18cm

The Witness

He was a humble owner of the street. He roamed where he owned, where he belonged. Faces changed every day, just like trees. They were no more than landscapes that shifted. But not him. He lingered. Day and night he wandered around with his free foot. When he was in need of rest, what was required was only imagination. Anything could be his blanket, his warmth, his bed.

Every morning, the man stripped his clothes in front of the station. His ribs welcomed the sun through his thin skin. He stood still until the crowd hurried for their work. He didn’t ask for changes or food. Embracing the sun for a moment was a routine to be kept in his day. When it started to get chilly, he dressed up to keep his warmth safe. He sat on the very point he stood with a tin can in front. He resided at that very point.

After sunset, he would move aside to the bushes. The bushes would hide him from direct exposure to drunkards but not from thief foxes and rodents. He didn’t mind. They were also one of the owners of the street and he had nothing precious to be stolen. The tangled twigs protected him from possible conflicts that bothers him. No one would be able to imagine the bizarre dawn of the street. He was a witness to every event that occurred. He remained silent and swallowed all the cases through his eyes.

He saw all kinds of violence hidden in the darkness. Violence was a routine for the street, like his vitamin D absorption every morning. It never came as a shock to him. What was peculiar was people that head to the street with their roofed homes behind them. To them, the four walls were the accomplices that hid the violence, and the streets were their shelter he reckoned. At least the defectors could use their imagination to hide from the cage.

The young girl was good at using her imagination. After her appearance, his tent was full of tools and objects made with twigs and leaves. Chopsticks, forks, bowls, frames, and even his tree house were crafted by those little hands. His life became prosperous, without a penny spent. When they were together, they would imagine the streets as rainforests in the Amazon, broad fields of Mongolia, or forests in Alaska. Living became a game, like a surviving program featured on television. Involved in his adventure, he was no longer a witness.

The adventure ended when the girl’s father detected their shelter. He smashed the walls with his feet, and all the craft inside the house shifted into twigs and leaves. It looked like a pile of wood, nothing special, nothing peculiar. He threatened the man that he would accuse him of kidnapping or child abuse, the sins of violence. That father would have crushed her with words like his feet, he assumed. It was violence in the daylight. It had no intention to be hidden and was rather exposed, but no justice came to judge. Sitting on the grave of a past home he once again swallowed the event in the street.

A black ceramic crab with spiky bits on the surface
Ending CreditsBlack Clay 23x11x26cm
A porcelain trophy like a bird spreading its wings
The ShieldPorcelain 8x21x16cm
A porcelain trophy like a bird spreading its wings
Spiky terracotta standing dangerously with three long legs
Mortal HungerTerracotta 12x21x12cm

All In For The Leavers

Every start seemed like an invasion to a perfect family. As if a far friend cast a heavy box on your apartment, it was a cohabitation on impulse. I never thought their attitude against me was unfair. Rather, it was an unmerited gift. Nothing was to be changed and I never asked for more. Nothing was requested for everything was cherished.

The last house I’ve met was always in danger of being destroyed. It was made of young bamboo trees, vulnerable and sensitive. It was meant to disappear at any time, and I constantly adjured. To be in service of all my desires, and to move on to the next house if I couldn’t be satisfied, I demanded. Demanding love was as easy as leaving the house.

But the easiest thing was to never be demanded. The mutual ban on requesting only made quitting easier. Love that fulfills endless desires nourished the hope of finding a new home. The potential new home demanded love, full of hope, and so did I. It was no longer easy. At one point, one moment, nothing could be fulfilled anymore, and the experience of loved desires turned the realization into a doomed place. How dare I let you be lonely. How could I not thoroughly have you. How could there be still a corner that I can never reach, after all the skins I have touched.

That is how I learned that others cannot be salvation. I was one of the visitors that was welcomed into your home. Nothing can be changed and wanted, and I stopped demanding, for I loved. On the way out, I would draw your closed eyes, in a chair, ignoring yet carefully listening to the sound of the door shutting.

It was six months after when I remembered the bike that I left. I was quite shocked that I haven’t thought about it because I loved that bike. I ran into bikes every day, but they never reminded me of mine. I assumed unconscious avoidance was the reason for that.

I stared at the camera after ringing the bell. Through the hollow little hole, I glared at the camera as if I was attacked by your heavy silence. After a moment that was too long, the door opened with a short buzz. Getting closer through the long corridor, I saw a black object in front of your door. I smirked. So it was obvious that I came for this.

You’d never know how to love. The house you long to find never existed and never will. Good luck with searching for it for your whole life. I recalled the moment I embraced your words. The last time I met you, you beseeched me to remember, that the house is inside me. Love will come and go, but you will live. You blessed.

I stood my bike on the sideway and sat on the floor for a cigarette. If this raw street is where I live, I would fall asleep in a snap. Nor a destination, nor a start, there is no home in the middle of the road. Or, I am the home. Love could only hide inside my two lips, beneath my tongue. I threw the cigarette and crawled into my temporary shelter.

A terracotta piece with a hole on the middle
Before It's Too LateTerracotta 14x15x14cm

Charlotte Fraser Prize