제목 Delivering the flavor of Wen Gu Zhi Xin (溫故知新: review the old and learn the new)
작성자 김현정 (ip:)
  • 작성일 2017-11-15 17:39:48
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Kim Hyun-Jung is a young and talented artist who gives new rise to the Traditional Korean Painting. Her delicate depictions of women-featured works evoke admiration and sympathy through humoristic emotions in it. She especially is worthy of admiration by establishing a paragon of "new" genre painting with sophisticated expressiveness and originality of subject matter. The works of Kim give a quite exceptional surprise in form and content. But the fact, in which her unprecedentedness is based on our traditional painting, becomes a rather convincing and delighting due to its nature. 


At first, her works, in terms of the form, have both Oriental and Western painting techniques. Fine strokes in facial expression and costume of female figure remind of line drawings technique of Goryeo Buddhist paintings. Subdued expression of hanbok, which seemed to be reproduced Bokchaebeop(伏彩法), is excellent as well. The artist uses diaphanous hanji to express feature of hanbok which is close to transparent.


Meanwhile, the props that appear with figures are expressed in detail as it were hyper-realistic technique of Western Painting. An artist who is particularly good at horse drawing, which is a difficult subject matter in a traditional Korean painting, is regarded to have coups de maître and this young artist realistically draws to a wonder. An artist of indeterminate age shows consummate brush stroke skill which gives us a clue of conjecturable amount of practice. So I would like to say that mere presumption of her skill by looking through the prints on the art book would be a big misjudgment. Encountering the real-life size work makes you feel the elaborate depiction and subdued feelings intactly.


Breakaway in the content is also interesting. Female figure in the work wears hanbok and her image is quite remote from the expected traditional perspectives, yet she is assertive and active. She does not care about regulation, formality and attitude which is implied in style of dress. She is on horseback riding with tightly rolled-up skirt, or sometimes on the Harley-Davidson, the exclusive property of macho. Most people who pretend to be exemplary will inevitably feel a kind of catharsis by vicarious satisfaction through this drastic and honest exposure of hidden desire.


Wit and breakaway shown in works of Kim has its roots in the genre painting of predecessors which is full of humor and satire. Shin Yoon-Bok’s masterpiece Yeon So Dap Cheong(年小踏靑), which delineates scene of yangban(aristocrat) taking gisaeng(courtesan, professional female entertainer) on horse to go field trip, is one of them. Social norms of the Joseon Dynasty are exceptionally strict and only person with high status can ride on horseback, but this particular painting describes shocking scene of gisaeng, one of the lowest class, who rides on horse along with yangban walking. The genre painting painters of the time disclose social contradiction where the strict law is only nominal yet actual life is promiscuous. Maybe, their paintings, instead of blaming society, cry out loud that "Enjoying the demimonde life is what they consider decent living." like Renaissance movement of West.  


So does works of Kim Hyun-Jung. Her naked disclosure of hidden desires might make you uncomfortable for a moment, but soon you can find out that it understands and consoles you. Her works obviously have the power to embrace and heal up of affront or loneliness of contemporaries.


In particular, the works that emerged with woman and horse, Dalryeogama(): Run to you, Yeojanun Mal()-ijo: A woman is, Sseomma() time: Horse time, Chukhahandanun Mal(): Word of Congratulations, Santa Mal()-iya: Santa Horse, and Faux-naif Paradise would have been the opportunity of reflecting more deeply on the "relationship" to the artist.


First, the motif of Dalryeogama(): Run to you is borrowed from traditional painting, Riding Horse Painting(走馬圖). It seizes the moment of floating horse which is galloping at full speed. Old equestrian paintings are usually depicting decent and elegant aristocrats on hunting or war scene. Therefore, encounter moment of woman with the horse in Dalryeogama(): Run to you gives a fresh impression. We can vividly feel the condensed energy and tension in the figure of racehorse with twitching muscle and greatly expanded nostrils to breathe in. On the other hand, thin skirt blown up like a balloon of the female figure on horseback seems to soar into sky at any moment. Breathtaking unity of the confrontational objects brings an intense immersion to the viewers. 


Yeojanun Mal()-ijo: A woman is is also unique equestrian portrait painting. The great white horse is distracted to carrot in front of him and woman, mounted on horseback, turns the body and outstretches hand toward the shoes and bags placed below. Scene of shoes and bags while horseback riding is absolutely preposterous, nevertheless main figure of Yeojanun Mal()-ijo: A woman is adorably appeals the appropriateness of this situation with a somewhat desired facial expression. Shoe is a kind of symbol that represents the identity of the artist. Colors and patterns are of the traditional shoes but it has high heels like Western shoes. It represents the artist's high self-confidence that would readily accepted outside as long as it is a new, interesting and beautiful while keeping with the unique beauty of Korean painting.


Chukhahandanun Mal(): Word of Congratulations is rooted in iconic painting of the Horse and Man. Each iconic painting contains certain meaning. For instance, in old paintings, like Semado(洗馬圖), the portrait of man washing a horse at the waterside, Gyeonmado(牽馬圖), the portrait of man leading a horse, Sangmado(相馬圖), the portrait of examining and choosing a horse, every horses symbolize man and every action taken in painting is a political allegory of improving oneself and talent hunting. Pony, featured in Chukhahandanun Mal(): Word of Congratulations, also symbolizes a friend. Pony is paying more attention to carrot on the cake than birthday gift saddle. When we figure out the hidden intention of the artist who shares the same perspective with friend, we can put on an impish smile. The artist plays a variation of the traditional horse and man painting by lifting up the vertical relationship between horse and man which can be summarized as loyalty() to the horizontal stage of sharing a friendship.


Female figure and pony in Sseomma() time: Horse time stand the heat only with electric fan and watermelon and that is as simple yet elegant as the ways of beating the summer heat with bathe, resting under shade of the tree and using fan in Joseon Dynasty. Fine aesthetic sense of the artist of matching the color of jeogori(Korean traditional jacket) and electric fan matches with green and red color of watermelon and brown color of pony and cart can also be the attractive point for appreciating.


Santa Mal()-iya: Santa Horse is also full of charm and character. The woman in the work is always impassive and prudish and that makes people wonder what is on her mind. By given title which sounds quite similar to "Santa Maria", referring to the symbol of mercy and grace also the mother of Jesus, viewers can infer the artist's intention of conveying the pleasure of sharing like Santa Claus does.


Faux-naif Paradise is based on the far too familiar work of Chusa Kim Jung-Hee(金正喜), National Treasure No. 180, Sehando(歲寒圖): Winter Landscape. At first, I was surprised by the backbone of the young artist who boldly borrows Sehando(歲寒圖): Winter Landscape, exalted by people of a painting that captures the quintessence of Literary Artists' Paintings. Honestly, I was quite concerned. But, I looked into the works and thought that it is hardly possible that she did not know about the spirit of Chusa and historical background of the era since she had been studying Oriental Paintings in-depth. Perhaps, the artist had a better understanding of Chusa's arriere-pensee. It is clear that the artist found a similar color of solitude of her own in that painting. Therefore Sehando(歲寒圖): Winter Landscape is added warmth and color by horseback riding and exercising female figures. And the artist questioned back, "Isn't winter landscape with crowded people quite fair to be paradise?" Fastidious Chusa might have been smiling in homage of witty protégé.


Works of Kim Hyun-Jung often make us recall of the late 20th century American artist Edward Hopper who represented the modern society and solitude. Because we can see the loneliness and plaintiveness casted inside of gorgeous and valorous women. So I have stronger affection on the series of woman and horse than Faux-naif Amusement Park. I certainly believe that the artist felt the warm consolation by drawing mild creature, "Horse" by the side of figure.


In addition, this exhibition introduces numerous number of new works like Preference Sniper and Master of Life. It will be a great chance to find remarkable growth of expression skills and profound composure of the artist. I am looking forward to see Kim Hyun-Jung's vigorous activities in front line of art world and spread power of free-spirited and fascinating Korean Paintings beyond the burden on big title of idol painter and emptiness behind the spotlight.


Copyright ⓒ By 한국화가 김현정 All pictures Cannot be copied without permission.

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