Art Radar focuses on three female artists from South Korea who use the body as subject matter in their work, considering how exposure can be the most revealing form of modesty. In Spring , a rumour spread that Park Geun-hye, the first female President of South Korea and daughter of former Dictator-President Park Chung-hee, was about to pass a law banning miniskirts. The international media, by now accustomed to images of scantily-skirted Korean pop stars, wondered where such conservatism had suddenly sprung from. South Korea is a country with a history of treating the body, especially the nude female body, conservatively. According to Seong Yoon-jin, who in curated a review of female nudes in Korean art at Lotte Hotel Gallery in Seoul, the nude was introduced in Korean art almost years ago. Stylistic and conceptual developments have taken place since then, particularly after the turbulent s. The body, even when fully unclothed, is exposed modestly. Image courtesy the artist. Miru Kim b. In her artist statement Kim says of the work,.
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Continuing where I left off, I will now address the first question I mentioned in the closing of the previous installment: why does nudity appear to be such a regular commodity in Korean films? Having said that, finding the answer involves taking a walk through the history of the nude in Korean art forms. This is made evident by the erotic but satirical Chunhwa paintings of the Joseon dynasty. However, actual nudity in art was a Western import introduced in the early 20th century.
Lee Byong-hun is considered a fairly well established artist in Korea covering portraits, figures especially nude , landscapes and still life. Among them, Lee is known to have covered portrait paintings and nude more than the landscape and still life paintings. Normally, one would try to see his educational background, how many solo private and group exhibitions he has had and what kind of and how many awards he has won. Artist Lee fairly well meets all of the above, but there is one very special aspect to him. He is highly rated among the fellow artists, and is accorded a high recognition especially from the noted senior artists in Korea. The famed artists buy the works of Lee. The curator of the Gallery purchased some of his paintings towards the end of the exhibition. Artists and curators buying paintings of the fellow artists indicate the real status of the artists because they know the value of the art works better than, perhaps, any other people. Artist Lee has won many coveted awards from prestigious art exhibitions and competitions.