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The Discourse Between the Art of Silver and Silversmithing Since World War Ⅱ

  • The Journal of Aesthetics and Science of Art
  • Abbr : JASA
  • 2014, 41(), pp.267-305
  • Publisher : 한국미학예술학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Published : June 30, 2014

Sae-Mi Cho 1

1홍익대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This thesis aims to explore the possibility of a new discourse beyond the discussion of Modern craft’s focus on technique and material. This paper examines the problems with Modern craft theory neglecting its historical and cultural value and becoming trapped in the dualism of functionalism and formalism. I also attempt to explore the concept of silver as a vehicle for a new monumentality. Whereas Chapter 2 deals with the development of the culture of Western silver, Chapter 3 considers 20th century, post-war silver with regards to two different aspects: Firstly, silver as a vehicle of pragmatism related to the industrial production and nationalistic ideology which flourished in Great Britain in 1960’s. Secondly, silver as an agency of formalism concentrating on material and technique which expanded in the United States of America in 1960’s. This tendency greatly influenced the development of Modern craft in Korea. Chapter 4 tries to pursue the possibility of de-material discourse of craft phenomenon based on “a new kind of commemoration of the silver” within the cultural context. As two exemplary cases, this paper analyzes the design of London 2012’s Paralympic medals by Lin Cheung, and the <Urn> by Lizzy Yoo. The conclusion addresses two potential problems if the material and technique centered formalistic approach became the accepted dogma of the field of study. Firstly, silver is likely to be recognized as a subject only with an exchange value. As we have witnessed through the history of silver, many magnificent works of silver were melted during war-time for their exchange value, even if technically the works were exceptional. Secondly, it is more likely to become the purpose of the field of study than ‘silversmithing for silversmithing’s sake.’ It’s as if the modernist protesting ‘art for art’s sake’ resulted in art becoming divorced from didactic, moral or utilitarian function. Crafts have the potential to explain the fundamental dignity of humanity. This paper examines the possibilities of a new craft by demonstrating a case for the culture of modern silversmithing.

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