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Visual signs and the aesthetic consciousness in Korean hyperrealism painting

  • The Journal of Aesthetics and Science of Art
  • Abbr : JASA
  • 2015, 45(), pp.283-322
  • DOI : 10.17527/JASA.45.0.09
  • Publisher : 한국미학예술학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Published : October 31, 2015

Lee Joo Young 1

1서원대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study aims to explore Korean hyperrealistic paintings from the late 1970s until the early 1980s and their aesthetic consciousness of visual signs. The topics which such works pursued imply various visual symbols, but their main themes converge in the following three: 1. The reflection of self-consciousness from critical viewpoints on the industrial civilization surrounding humanity, 2. They directly or indirectly represent an aesthetic consciousness which is related to an authentic nature, contrasting with the phenomena in industrialized society, and 3. They look upon culture as important, considering it the element that harmonizes nature and humanity. The hyperrealistic painters examined in this study represented everyday objects and motifs from nature via detailed realistic depiction. Their visual symbols embody a complicated signified which doesn't appear in simple methods of representation. The depicted visual sign is a symbol, being tied to signifiants which symbolize society and culture. By analysing the meanings of these signifiants, this study attempts to reveal that the aesthetic consciousness aimed at by these hyperrealistic painters is not represented in material or detailed representative methods. Rather, the aesthetic consciousness within their works implies a meaning contrary to the signifiants they express. The paintings communicate the need for emancipation from the unfamiliar and uncomfortable circumstances humans then found themselves in and the resulting closing of self-consciousness. Painters depicted objects in their obsessions as a means of criticizing modern reality and escaping from it. At the heart of this aesthetic consciousness, where all the elements of the paintings converge, is a nature which represents an inner reality. In these hyperrealistic paintings, nature appears as a value of beauty which requires an in-depth interpretation, not being a simple significant. Many painters have tried to harmonize nature and human society, creating works in which cultural elements are symbolized as connecting elements. Letters and old books, cultural symbols, appear as friends of humanity. Such symbols, along with images of nature, are the dominant characteristics of Korean hyperrealistic paintings, symbolizing an integration of nature and humanity, upon which the painters build their paintings with combinations of represented from the nature and cultural symbols. Results from this study confirm that the aesthetic consciousness linked to nature is an inherent aesthetic value vitally important to the young painters of the late 1970s to the early 1980s.

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.