minhwa - Alfa Art Gallery

minhwa - Alfa Art Gallery

MINHWA Introduction to the Folk Painting of the People of Korea Disclaimer (of sorts) • • • • • • I am not Korean I don’t speak Korean I’ve never b...

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MINHWA Introduction to the Folk Painting of the People of Korea

Disclaimer (of sorts) • • • • • •

I am not Korean I don’t speak Korean I’ve never been to Korea I am an artist Art is a universal language/communication I am interested in the art, its process and emotion

Korean Art Reveres the Past • Utopia was in the past • Imitate past, but do not simply copy • “Mind of the brush” (p’ilui) “… where the artist, through own hand reexperiences the world of the old masters to make it his own.”

A Bit of Perspective China



Folk Art (Minhwa)




Timeline • Shilla (57 B.C.-AD 935) – Buddhist, temple art

• Paekje (372 until absorbed into Koguryo) • Koguryo (918-1392) – Oldest, most powerful kingdom

• Chosun (1392-1910)

Professional Artists and Dilettantes • Professional painters were despised • Paintings were not despised • “Office of Painting” “Office of Rites” – Government artists – Recorded state events

• Ruling class loved to paint: “amateur, literati, gentlemen, gentry schools” – Drove trends – Free of “convention” and made own rules

Chosun (1392-1910) • • • •

Evolved through phases Genres or styles Minhwa Minhwa obscure until 20c – Tiger exhibition 1969

Genres Religion


Minhwa People

Forms • Single panel on natural material • Double panels • Screens 6,8,10,12

Ten Panel Hunting

Common Symbols • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Landscape, nature: nature natural order and balance Tigers: Tigers power, protection Magpie: Magpie bringer of good news Peonies: Peonies symbol of wealth, honor and social position Lotus: Lotus Buddha’s mercy and high government service Longevity symbols: symbols long & healthy life; sun, clouds, mountains, water, cranes, mushrooms, fungus, deer, turtle, rock, etc. Dragons: Dragons protection from evil Tiger hides: hides power to soldier Fish and Crabs: Crabs love Hunting scenes: scenes bravery Hundred Children: Children wish for many descendants Life cycle: cycle scholarship oriented Bookcases and scholarship: scholarship scholarship Shamanistic Deities: Deities rites, deities, duties

Why Minhwa? • • • • • •

Stories and purpose Humorous Stylistic Optimistic Powerful colors Zen

• “Tiger and Mocking Bird folk tale”

Minhwa: Minhwa Landscape • Nature, derived from earlier Chinese • People insignificant • “Autumn Mountain” • Mountain Spirits

Minhwa: Minhwa Flowers & Birds • Symbol of love between husband/wife • Children • Woman/child room

Minhwa:Peonies Minhwa • • • • •

Symbol of wealth Longevity in love Seeds = Fruitful “Marriage Panels” Palace

Minhwa: Minhwa Lotus • Mercy • Service of “king” or government, highest honor, top of professional ladder • Success

Minhwa: Minhwa Ten Symbols • Longevity & health • Happiness & success • E.g. sun, clouds, mountains, water, cranes, mushrooms, fungus, etc.

Minhwa: Minhwa Dragons • Repels evil • Bring rain, good crops • Not fierce, but approachable • Multiple animal elements

Minhwa: Minhwa Hides • • • •

Military Masculine Strength, power Respect for nature

Minhwa: Minhwa Fish and Crabs • Love • Carp rising from water to become dragon • Hard efforts will bring success eventually • Confucian students preparing for national examination

Minhwa: Minhwa Hunting • Masculine • Integration man with nature • Valor, strength, honor • Left: detail of hunting panel

Minhwa:Hundred Children Minhwa • Chinese origins • Prosperous family • Many healthy children/decendants • Left: detail of larger painting

Minhwa: Minhwa Scholarship • • • •

Compare to still-life Books Masculine objects Found in “the man’s quarters”

Process • • • • • •

Stretch Prepare Paint Remove Re-stretch Mount

Painter at Work • Dab technique • Water based paint


Completed Panels • • • • •

Complete Final check Remove silk Framing process Panels or Screens

Yesterday and Today “Korean art has followed an evolutionary path through time, just like western art. Today’s Korean art is rooted in a traditional past in terms of technique, but is clearly of the present. While the traditional art was apolitical, lacked social impact and made no comment and employed two dimensional perspective, controlled brush strokes and bold, simple colors, today’s Korean artists use a more monochromatic, three dimensional style and focus on social issues…but they continue to use the techniques derived from a proud history.”