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The Aesthetic Consciousness in Korean Abstract Art : The Nature and The Spirit as the Inner Reality

  • The Journal of Aesthetics and Science of Art
  • Abbr : JASA
  • 2011, 33(), pp.211-250
  • Publisher : 한국미학예술학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Published : June 30, 2011

Lee Joo Young 1

1서원대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The study aims to look into the reality and the aesthetic consciousness that korean abstract art has pursued. Abstract artists in Korea consider the reality as not revealed by imitating outer resemblance. They look upon the object reality as possessed through the inside, whereas their works of art are the interpretations of this reality. Abstract art loses the outer resemblance to phenomenons of life and nature but resemble inner realities that artists pursued. Abstract art, using ‘the inner resemblance’ and ‘the unsensible resemblance’, is focused to expresse strongly the resemblance to the inner emotion and the spirituality. Artists, who are inclined to lyrical abstract, express their subject emotion, pursuing the inner reality of human. On the contrary artists who are tended to geometric abstract realize the structural order of nature and the numerical principle. The aesthetic consciousness of abstract art appears generally in the form of the spiritual intention. In this case the spiritual intention is expressed in those like the expression of inner reality, structure of nature, reality reduced to the basic element, transformation of materiality, expression for rhythm of life through simple repetition of lines, forms, and colors. By visual signs artists try to allude to their philosophical introspection for life's problems. The important three phases in development of korean abstract art is characterized by movements between nature and spirit. It's first phase belongs to the first generation of abstract artists that is represented by Yoo Young-kuk and Kim Whan-ki. The first generation of korean abstract artists have distinctive feature of ‘in itself’ in dialectical process. In these phases, the spirit process peacefully in itself without losing harmony in nature. In this process this nature is the prototype that basis of community life roots in. The works of art, made by reorganizing ‘the essence’ from nature world, mirror real world and reconstruct a total completed world. The dissonance of social circumstance cannot affect this autonomous world. On the phase of ‘for itself’, the spirit moves to the society, leaving the nature. The second phase from the end of 50s to the beginning of 60s is characteristic of ‘Informel painting’. It's feature is represented by ‘for itself’. In these processes subject and object are confronted with each other. The subject gets out of the nature in itself, thus subjective conciousness become unhappy in the society, being expressed as extreme emotion, existential conciousness and a feeling of uneasiness. ‘Monochrom painting’ in the third phase of korean abstract art is distinct by ‘self regression’. In this process, the spirit cognizes itself as nature and returns to itself, where the unity of subject and object, nature and spirit, material and spirit is reached. Abstract artists seek after the fundamental truth in nature and life, and their Intentions performs double circular motions between immanence and transcendence and enriches all our lives, bringing the product created in dialectical processes to life. This immanence comes from the monistic concept of nature, blooming itself through repeated cycle of movements and quiescence, creation and extinction. Abstract artists express the nature as a inner reality, extracting essence in phenomenon, principle and order of life, or revealing the intrinsic attribute of human nature. And Abstract artists also help appreciators to open the way to use their inner reality for understanding watched abstract art works. As their meanings are opened, there are many possibilities of interpretation for inner reality.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.