"Remake Corea Shows Plurality as True Identity in Traditional Korean Art
"Remake Corea Shows Plurality as True Identity in Traditional Korean Art
  • 이은주
  • 승인 2005.03.02 00:00
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▲ The long hair in Lee Soon-jong's 'Woman on the water' is powerfully portrayed.

   The term "remake," taken simply, means to recreate the past. However, this word goes beyond just recreating the past when it is put in the hands of nine inventive artists. "Remake Corea" is an exhibit featuring Kim Sunny, Kim Jong-ku, Kim Jee-hye, Kim Tae-eun, Lyu Jae-ha, Lee Soon-jong, Lim Young-kil, Jang Hee-jeong, and Chung Zu-young. These artists strive to touch modern people? senses by not just recreating traditional Korean art but also transforming them into images we can identify with today.
   "Remake Corea" is being held at "Space C" in Sinsa-dong, a gallery known for its support for women-centered culture. So it is perhaps not surprising that some artists in this exhibit view the country's past and present from a feminists' perspective. Among the nine artists who take part, Lee Soon-jong first grabs viewers attention with her reinterpretations of the 18th to 19th century artist Shin Yoon-bok's 'Meein-do,' literally meaning "paintings of a beauty" in Korean.
   In her work, Lee redefines the past standard of beauty and re-explores the essence of femininity. In one striking piece entitled ?oman on the water, for example, Lee uses the woman? thick hair to symbolize the power that is within her. In the painting above, the long braided hair of the woman is connected to paint the water.
   Lee's contemporary 'Meein-do' also includes the mixed-media '2050 Spring,' the ink drawing 'Woman,' and four other pieces: 'Woman on the water,' 'Memory,' 'Portrait,' and 'Moon.' As a female artist, Lee rejects the concept of beauty portrayed by the male painter, Shin. Instead, through her works, viewers are able to discover the dual nature of women: sacred and secular, spiritual and physical. Bae Myung-ji, the curator of "Space C," says, "The women's delicate but long grotesque hair shown in the paintings designate inner strength." Bae added that, "Unlike Shin's traditional perspective, women in Lee's works are free from social barriers."
   The other works in "Remake Corea" are also significant. Korean-American artist Sunny Kim shows paintings of women in symbolic confinement. For example, in the piece 'Playground,' Kim depicts a female student wearing a school uniform against the background where 'Sipjangsaeng,' the ten traditional symbols of longevity­ turtle, pine, tree, moon, sun, deer, crane, rocks, water, and clouds­ appear. The painting expresses the fantasy the girl has towards the ten surrealistic creatures that surround her.
   The artists who are participating in this exhibition are united by the common theme of taking traditional works and adding new meanings to them in the context of the 21st century. Through these artists, viewers can reconstruct their idea of femininity and rethink their own relationships with the icons of traditional art. Lee Ye-jin (Yonsei Univ., 3) says, "The works in this exhibition are very striking and gave me a chance to look at Korean Art from a new perspective."
   The exhibition, supported by Coreana Cosmetics and The Korean Culture and Arts Foundation, will show until March 26.

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