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National Archetype of the Communist: Discourse of Human Imagery of North Korean Art in the late 1950s

  • Journal of History of Modern Art
  • 2019, (45), pp.175-198
  • DOI : 10.17057/kahoma.2019..45.007
  • Publisher : 현대미술사학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Art > Arts in general > Art History
  • Received : May 15, 2019
  • Accepted : June 11, 2019
  • Published : June 30, 2019

Hong Ji Suk 1

1단국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In the late 1950s, what was highlighted in the search for special measures to develop classicism into socialist realism was the concept of “the archetype of human imagery.” One of the key concepts of socialist realism, “archetype” was introduced to North Korean art by 1949, but it has been since 1955 that the concept has emerged as a practical issue for art criticism. In the late 1950s, archetype was in the spotlight as a clue to overcoming the problems of so-called schematicism and an alternative to securing the artistry of realism. Recalling Engels’ remarks that “realism means creating a typical character in a typical environment in addition to the veracity of details,” North Korean artists of the time sought to “replay and reflect the underlying phenomena” and implement the typical characteristics that express the nature of a person’s character.” However, it was not easy to make the ideal a reality. In other words, a number of problems arose in the process of realizing the “archetype” requested by socialist realism in their work. In the process of solving this problem, the meaning of the concept of “archetype” also changed and expanded to the “National archetype of the communist.”

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