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Faces of Korean Modern Art in Overseas Exhibitions

Kim, JungHee 1

1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The <Exhibition of Korean Modern Art> in the Worldhouse Gallery in U.S.A. of the year 1956 is the 1st overseas exhibition of Korean art after the liberation from the Japanese colonization. From then on the interests and desires of Korean artists to participate in overseas exhibitions were very high and increased drastically. For example, as early as 1960the association of Korean Modern Artist opened a special Even though Korea could participate in Venice Biennale only 1986 for the first time, for example, the Association of Korean Modern Artists opened a special exhibition to raise fund to build a national pavilion in the Venice Biennale, but korean could participate in this Biennale for the first time only 1986 and the Korean national pavilion in Venice was built 1995 as the last national pavilion in the Giardini. For Korean artists in general overseas exhibitions have played as the most important instrument to make a carrier in this field because the latter appeared as an artistic success and guaranty by the qualifying through the international canons of the foreign professionals. The importance and impact of them for the Korean artists have been reduced bith with the increase of travels, and solo exhibitions in foreign countries at the end of the eighties and through the so called globalization of the nineties which accelerated the exchanges between countries not only in economical and cultural aspects but also in nearly all ones. Even though the overseas exhibitions are still wished by most of the Korean artists. As we can suppose from the above mentioned facts that the association of the Korean artists announced the necessity of the founding of the national pavilion, the awareness of the national identity was important for the Korean artists who have experienced the colonization and the civil war. These two elements, namely the importance of the exhibition in foreign countries, and of the meaning of the national identity among the Korean artists have been unified in overseas exhibitions as concept of a collective identity called as "Koreaness" or "something to be Korean". This phenomenon reached peak 1995, which was set as "the Year of Korean Art" by the Korean government. In this year the national pavilion of Korea in Venice Biennale was built and Jun Soochun received the Special Prize through the show in this room. The identity is not determined but constructed. The collective identity is not the real,but the imagined, and arbitrary. Moreover the meaning of 'being Korean' in the postnational era is not fixed the world wide increased migration. This phenomenon being called as nomadism shows the arbitrariness of the identity of a nation. It was proved through the exhibition "KOREAMERICAKOREA" which was held on May 2000 in Art Sonje Center in Seoul. Japan has played a decisive role in the process in which the "Koreaness" was created since the end of 1960s until to the beginning of 1990s. In the 1970s and 1980s the White or the Whiteness was exclusively the quality of the Koreaness in the Korean painting. It was created and constructed by Japanese critic Nakahara Yuske and reproduced by some particular Korean critics and painters. Such identification of Korean art was connected to the dualistic division of Orient and Occident. 40 or 50 years long the meaning of being Korean or the national identity of Korea, whatever it might be called, was mapped according to the dualism as the counterpart of the European and North American. In the dualistic pairing scheme Korea was mapped, not only by itself but also by the other, as the past against to the present, the spirit against the material or the nature against the material civilization. The item of the paring was varied or combined with the same part of another pairing schema. In this paper I will show how specific Korean art between 1960s and 2000 was identified as the Korean and how the former was mapped as the counterpart of the Western like nature, spirit or past. I will show how the Korean artists of the younger generation including the feminist women artists used the reversed orientalist view of the Western male audiences. It will be analyzed who and which institutional bodies had the hegemony in the processes in which the overseas exhibitions were organized and the artists were selected.

Citation status

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