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An Inquiry into the Philosophy of Art of Yohan Zoh from the Viewpoint of Eastern Thoughts

  • The Journal of Aesthetics and Science of Art
  • Abbr : JASA
  • 2012, 35(), pp.31-58
  • Publisher : 한국미학예술학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Published : June 30, 2012

Joosik Min 1

1영남대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Professor Yohan Zoh was a liberalist who aspired universalism, mainly studying and teaching western philosophy and aesthetics. And yet, we can find and feel something characteristic of Korean emotion and Eastern thinking from him. He had a peculiar affection on Chinese classical writings and Korean classical arts. For him, Eastern thoughts of art or Chinese theory of art was needed for him in the process of academic research on Korean aesthetics. It was not only a fundamental basis for illuminating Korean beauty, but also a measuring stick for surmising the phase of Korean art. His admiration for the spirit of Eastern art was greatly influenced from Hwanki Kim, a Korean modernist painter, corresponding to the world of Korean elegant beauty ‘meot’ which was sprung from natural environment and mental disposition. Most of precursors explained the principles of Korean beauty from a single viewpoint, for example, from the concept of ‘beauty of sorrow’, ‘naturalism’, or ‘unskilled skill’. On the contrary, Zoh stipulated two axis of ‘asymmetry’ and ‘adaptation to nature’, which have coexisted historically, supplementing each other. According to him, ‘asymmetry’ was originated from northern Shaman tradition built up by nomadic life and was connected with the temper of outbreaking and intoxication in excited situation. And ‘adaptation to nature’ was originated from southern agricultural tradition which worship the spirits of the terrain and has showed the sense of value estimating the nature as the nominative. The two representative characteristics of ‘shinbaram’ or exulted spirits and ‘simple-hearted beauty’ could be molded by these bases. His grasp of Korean beauty in dual structure is significant for our understanding the diversity of Korean artistic culture. Zoh has taken into consideration on the universality and peculiarity of Korean beauty, maintaining the comparative angle of vision. He argued some characteristics of Korean beauty, contrasting between Eastern and Western arts comprehensively and among Korean, Chinese and Japanese arts in detail. He showed an open-minded attitude to reflect on broad horizon of thinking. He premised the inter-complement relation between Eastern intuition and Western science, and examined some comparative studies between Eastern and Western arts. He emphasized the importance of comparative viewpoint, explaining the differences of concept of art, perspectives of painting, and the discrepancy of musical traits of meditation of the East and vitality of the West.

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