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The Paradox of Paintings in Korea under Japanese Colonial Rule (1905-1945)

Date: 24 November 2010 (Wednesday)
Time: 5:00pm
Venue: Room 2.38, Main Building, HKU

This talk will be a preliminary discussion based on my thesis, “The Paradox of Paintings in Korea under Japanese Colonial Rule (1905-1945).”

At the end of the 19th century, Japan emerged as a dominant nation in Asia who expended their territory with a succession of military campaigns. In order to legitimize its colonial rule, Japan used two different, and sometimes contradictory approaches. Japan identified itself with the “advanced” West and treated neighboring Asian countries as an inferior other. On the other hand, Japan promoted a unified Asia-as-one as an alternative to Western imperialism. This created a triangulated relationship between Korea, Japan, and an abstract West.

This talk will focus on the ChosonMijon (1922-1944), the first government art exhibition. Korean artists who chose to participate in the exhibition constantly had to defend, deny or adopt aesthetics ideals in a competition that was dominated by Japanese jurors and where art policies supported Japanese imperialist ideas. In particular, the paper will provide a close examination of paintings depicting “local colours (鄉土色)”, a genre favoured in the ChosonMijon.

Speaker: Lee Yoon Yung (MPhil Candidate, Department of Fine Arts, HKU)