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Title: Korean art and the avant-garde dilemma
Author: Park, K.-W.
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2012
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The thesis covers Korean avant-garde art history and the dilemma that faced Korean artists at the end of the Japanese Colonial Period (1910-1945). Current literature adequately details avant-garde as progressive fine arts; however, there is limited literature on Korean art in this period. This thesis suggests the term avant-garde dilemma to indicate Korean artists‘ difficulty in style selection to follow a traditional aesthetical trend or progressive socio-political attitude for the foundation of Korean post-modernism. A salient démarche is found when Korean political avant-garde artists meet this dilemma in the midst of the Korean Demonstration Era (1976-1989) that initiates the decline of aesthetical activism and Demonstrative Art. Several styles of avant-garde dilemma after the Korea War are critiqued in the avant-garde evolution; subsequently, there arise hybrid styles between socio-political avant-garde and aesthetical avant-garde styles in Contemporary Korean Art. The examples included are Nam-Jun Baik‘s Video Art (a combination of art and technology), Do-Ho Suh‘s combination of meticulous sculpture with installation to satire Korean neo-capitalist society, Doo-Shik Lee‘s combination of oriental color with western gesture, and Suk-Chang Hong‘s free calligraphy to combine still-life, landscape, calligraphy, and scribbling. Related artistic, political, and social developments since 2000, illustrate the climax of the Korean avant-garde dilemma and my artistic motivation to create Iron Age through a medium of stainless steel & plastic with polyurethane pigments. Iron Age exemplifies the development of a new hybrid style (painting and sculpture) to resolve the ideological avant-garde dilemma. This thesis develops the hybrid term Aesthetical and Socio-political Avant-garde Art to satisfy two aesthetical and socio-political ideologies. For aesthetical development, we consider Clive Bell‘s philosophy to create 'significant form'. Iron Age combines theories of Italian Arte-Povera, French Nouveau Realism (Fire Painting), German Neo-Expressionism, post-structural Conceptualism with free expression and varieties of composition. Iron Age that develops from Adorno‘s socio-critical expression to describe a dystopia through Material Language, Destroy Structure, Dissipative Void, Metamorphosed Texture, Letters and Personages, Smoke and Shade, and Symbolic Coloring. A visual Socio-political message is developed through metamorphosis and deconstruction skills under Iron Age that form a core motif of Scrooge Repent as the mirror image of Scrooge‘s redemption of in A Christmas Carol to show a futuristic material paradise destroyed through war, terrorism, and spiritual desolateness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available