Meta-criticisms of Lee Joong Seop’s Myth – on the basis of Mythologies by Roland Barthes
The debate on Lee Joong Seop who will be represent of Korean modern art history has been continuously over 60 years. In this way, he became well knew to the general public and was as stable as nobody should be How to evaluate his art works. In this regard, many people argue critically that the myth of Lee Joong Seop overshadows the fair criticism of his works. As such, this article tries to raise a question of whether the myth of Lee Joong Seop should only be interpreted negatively.
First of all, the concept of myth is discussed. Myth has been studied in a variety of ways in many research works. In such research, while novel ideological views have been proposed as mythos that complements the limitation of logos, the rules of myth according to ethnological and anthropological views have also been studied. In these processes, myth is linked to semiology in that it has a narrative structure. Such link between semiology and myth is extended more in terms of subjects when it comes to Roland Barthes. Barthes extended the concept of myth to the general cultural phenomenon without limiting it within the context of stories of gods or specific narratives of ethnic characters. Especially, he extracted paroles that have various substances from cultures and analyzed myth that was formed within such. Myth, as Barthes sees it, is identified through the significant structure that has double systems, which are a step forward from semiology. We tried to apply the significant structure of myth, as Barthes discussed, to the myth of Lee Joong Seop. In addition, we took critical writings on Lee Joong Seop, in which the signification process of his myth occurred, as our text for such applications.
This is a meta-critical attitude, which does not analyze works of Lee Joong Seop but the criticisms on him and his works that have been written for 60 years since his death. While there are many research methods on employing meta-critical views, this article adopts more objective and formal New-Critical views since it aims to analyze the significant structure of the myth of Lee Joong Seop and this view is in agreement with that of Barthes in the analysis of myth.
As a result from examining on the basis of Barthes' “Mythologies” and meta-critical views, several paroles implying the myth of Lee Joong Seop could be extracted and three myths should be found through this. The first is the myth of a genius artist. During the Japanese colonial era, despite a Korean, he got recognized to overcome the age limitation. And he painted creative works, like the paintings on silver papers for the period of refuge. The second is the myth of tragic life that cannot but sacrifice his living. Living in the Dark Age, parting a family, he lived poorly to get sick. However, he produced works continually. Critics have analyzed his works base on his tragic life. The third is the myth of impossible dream that was not realistic. His works are in a bright mood in spite of hard conditions. He expressed a utopia with missing family regarding happy kids on them ideally.
Such paroles with respect to the life of Lee Joong Seop can be easily seen in many critical writings. Therefore, it has not been surprising that we have learned the myth of Lee Joong Seop through various writings about him. Just as in the principle of myths that Barthes suggested, the myth of Lee Joong Seop became the nature rather than historic facts. And It is possible for the significant structure that apply to the Korean art.