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From Lee Ufan’s Relatum to Choi Jeonghwa’s Anthropocene: Plastic as Non-Human Actor and Materiality of Korean Modernism

  • The Journal of Aesthetics and Science of Art
  • Abbr : JASA
  • 2021, 63(), pp.96-120
  • DOI : 10.17527/JASA.63.0.04
  • Publisher : 한국미학예술학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Received : April 15, 2021
  • Accepted : May 8, 2021
  • Published : June 30, 2021

Woo Jung-Ah 1

1포스텍

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study explores the sociocultural meaning of plastic based on the works of Choi Jeonghwa, and reconsiders the status of plastic both as object and material in the historical context of Korean modernism. It specifically focuses on Lee Ufan’s artistic practices and critical discourses, which became highly influential in the development of experimental art of Korea in the late 1960s that was inclined to emphasize materiality and sheer objects. Lee argued for encountering the “world as it is,” as an alternative to European modernism’s anthropocentrism and the bipolar value system. This paper analyzes the discourse of materiality of Korean modern art in terms of new materialism and the Actor-network theory (ANT) of Bruno Latour, as a way to avoid the essentialist perspective of Dansaekhwa that emphasized spirituality and “Korean-ness” in its promotion. If we reconsider materiality not only as an artistic medium, but also as a “non-human actor,” as suggested by Latour, it will shed new light on the progress of Korean art from the experimentation of the 1960s to Choi Jeonghwa’s active involvement with plastic as a primary material.

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