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Change in North Korea’s Concepts of Realism and Exemplarity

  • Journal of History of Modern Art
  • 2019, (46), pp.143-164
  • DOI : 10.17057/kahoma.2019..46.006
  • Publisher : 현대미술사학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Art > Arts in general > Art History
  • Received : November 18, 2019
  • Accepted : December 7, 2019
  • Published : December 31, 2019

Carey Park 1

1통일부 통일교육원

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In North Korean art, the concept of realism has changed from a social-realist perspective into that of Juche realism. In this process, the idea of North Korea’s sublime elite, known as the Suryong , was incorporated in to this realism, and eventually, the idea of eternal life was incorporated as well. Though these two concepts appear to be in opposition to the concept of “realism,” North Korean artists combined concepts of socio-political livelihood, the essence of the Suryong , and Suryong immortality vis-avis changes in exemplarity, so that these contrary ideas may coexist. What did not change in this process is that North Korean works of realism maintain the system of control, and that the role served by this art is to create the future desired by the system. Thus, the fate of realism appears to be intertwined with change in the national system, as opposed to conventional realism, which criticizes the contradictions of the system. We can thus confirm that the concept of realism in North Korean art is sensitive to changes in the North Korean system of control, while simultaneously being manipulated by those in power to maintain that system.

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