The artists of ‘Hyeonsil & Baleon’ who represented the tendency of critical realistic arts in Korea during the 1980s, tried to express the content of social life. In this thesis, this content is considered as narrativity in art and its aesthetic meaning is reconsidered from a realistic point of view based on G. Lukács' late aesthetics. The narrativity shown visually by the artists of ‘Hyeonbal’, could be comprised in the context of realism. Namely, they tried to represent concrete reality rather than abstract reality, and to recognize this reality viewed in the totality. Also in the standpoint for human, they did not generalize abstractly the situation of existence. Instead, they grasped the human as the ‘type’, and tried to consider them in concrete social and historical environments. By doing this, they showed their belief that people could recognize the essential content of reality and reflect it through art.
In the aspect of form, there is no special type of realism. Therefore, artists can use various forms. The matter depends upon how effectively they can convey the content of narrative. As a medium, the characteristic and strength of fine arts consists of arousing the experience of life and the effect through the depiction of external things. The artists of ‘Hyeonbal’ used the power of external forms, they disposed those forms in the space, and consisted the stories of life. For this, they focused on the form itself, or took organic composition forms, arousing concrete experience of life. Or they disposed forms side-by-side in the space, they revealed diverse aspects of life. Artists who tried to grasp society with a critical viewpoint and to express conflicts through the medium of fine arts used various methods that destroyed beautiful forms. Namely, they conveyed dissonance of reality, contrast of the contradictories, and combination of fragments. They were not interested incompleteness of form. Therefore appreciators often felt inconvenienced for the aesthetic impression.
The intention of artists who wanted to express the narrative appropriately for the characteristics of fine arts, influenced the form of composition. The artists used various methods to arrange forms in space and those crossed over between the classic and the modern and the Korean and the Western. Through this, they were sometimes successful in creating virtual totality, and showed artworks arousing catharsis. But some instances, some artworks, though they had fresh and affecting impression, were too blunt in their narrativity. In these cases, often premised artist's concept could interrupt abundant interpretation of appreciators. Or some artists delivered their concept so metaphorically and ambiguously, that they made their own individual allegory. This situation reflects the difficult journey for modern critical realists who had to invent methods to capture totality in reality.
Nevertheless, many artists in ‘Hyeonbal’ obtained some important elements of Lukács' realism in regard of humanistic viewpoint, critical seeking for meaning of life in the ‘here and now’, and through this, suggested indirectly the perspective for a better life. Furthermore, using various modern art forms and popular culture media, they expanded the content of realism, suitably for contemporary cultural sensibility.