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The Influence of Vanitas Paintings in Contemporary Art Photography

  • The Journal of Aesthetics and Science of Art
  • Abbr : JASA
  • 2017, 52(), pp.377-413
  • DOI : 10.17527/JASA.52.0.11
  • Publisher : 한국미학예술학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Published : October 31, 2017

Hyun-Mok Jung 1

1홍익대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study has a purpose of verifying Vanitas allegories utilized by contemporary photographers and variations of the exemplifications. This examines the traditional style and allegorical methodology of Leiden and Dutch Vanitas paintings in the 17th century. Having given its priority to symbolism in the 19th century, Vanitas allegories resurged as an influential concept in contemporary visual art in and after the mid-20th century. The concept has expressed contemporary significance issues in works of contemporary visual artists: Gerhard Richter, Damien Hirst, Subodh Gupta, Kira Kim, Dami Yun, Byungho Lee, and Kyungah Ham. Works of Paulette Tavormina, Justin Reyes, Mat Collishaw, Ori Gersht, Laura Letinsky, David Lachapelle, Hyun –Mok Jung, Valérie Belin, Jae-Eun Choi, and Nigel Morris show the traditions of Vanitas paintings in various ways. Some focus on the photographic reproduction of Vanitas still-life paintings, some reinterpret the message of Vanitas still-life paintings in modern style, or others graft the concept of ‘Vanitas vanitatum’ on today's issues. Employment of Vanitas concept expands its way from still-life photos to portraits. The resurgence of the concept of Vanitas paintings results from the similarity of social phenomena in these days of 21st century to those of Europe in 17th century. The concept and format of Vanitas paintings are still valid to dealing with psychological uneasiness and value confusion of moderns, who are increasingly isolated in the world of materialism. However, this study indicates that the limit of incomplete resurgence of Vanitas paintings appears with many of photographers above who overuse conventional icons of Vanitas allegories. It is necessary that the photographers who utilize Vanitas concepts overcome this limit and suggest original meaning and methods.

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