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Lee Ufan and Korean Monotone Paintings in the 1970's

  • Journal of History of Modern Art
  • 2002, (14), pp.135-160
  • Publisher : 현대미술사학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Art > Arts in general > Art History
  • Received : November 30, 2002
  • Accepted : December 31, 2002
  • Published : December 31, 2002

Kang Tae Hee 1

1한국예술종합학교

ABSTRACT

1970's in Korea was an unfortunate period when severe political circumstances regulated the social and cultural atmosphere of the country. As a result, many critics defined the decade as the period of conceptualization and uniformity. The Korean Monotone(Dansaek) Paintings were the mainstream of the period, and they absorbed the diverse small group movements in 2D(painting) and 3D (object and installation) from the first half of the decade. Lee Ufan was one of the most important energy of the period both with his works and with theory and aesthetics. As is well known, he was the leader of the Monoha and was also the figure who influenced most of Korean Dansaek painters. He was also the bridge between Korean and Japanese modern art, and his Monoha theory was extremely popular to the Korean young artists. Monoha was a matter-oriented movement but matter itself was not the point. It was the relationship between matter and man, and consequent relationship between world and man. This Monoha was active between 1969 and 1971 in Japan and Lee retired from the debate on Mohoha in 1971 and tried to find a new way in painting. He exhibited his first monotone paintings < From Point> <From Llne> in 1973 although he did not give up his scupture. In Korea, his Monoha theory which was on 30 so to speak, was translated into Dansaek Paintings while its material character was also emphasized to sust.'ill1 the com­ munication between matter and man. In fact, Lee Ufan made it clear that Mohoha was not about matter, and his pain tings had nothing to do with material side of the medium. Dansaek painters once kept the material side only to reduce it in order to reach the spirituality of the aesthetics. of traditional paintings. Also, Lee's early illusionistic paintings before Monoha was important because his <Phemomenon and Perception> made by broken glass plate with a rock was not a Mohona but a trick work which was widely excercised by pre-Monoha artists then. Further, Quac Insik, a Korean artist who setteled in Japan since 1950 and helped and led Lee to modern art, was claimed as a forerunner of the Monoha by a few critics such as Minemura Toshiaki. Lee denied his role in Monoha and influence from him, but certain works and his early interest in matter tell that was not the case.

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