Art and Power : Tracing the Figure of the Artist in Korean Art History

藝術與權力 : 韓國藝術史中藝術家身份形象的遞變

Research output: Creative and Literary Works in Non - textual FormWeb publication/site

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Original languageEnglish
PublisherFloating Projects
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


The contemporary art world, consisting of art galleries, museums, and producers of art history, has relied heavily on singular authorship of art-makers. Such a status of artists we are familiar with today, however, was constructed only a few hundred years ago. Until the advent of the modern subject in the Enlightenment, artists had been perceived in different ways. Even the idea of the single author has slowly collapsed in author discourses in the 20th century. The birth and destruction of a particular type of artist are influenced by complex factors of a milieu. Therefore, the question “who is the artist?” must be answered at a social and historical level beyond the internal analysis of art objects.

Through Foucauldian archaeology, this essay tracks down records that preserve traces of the figure of the artist that is a collective image beheld by the general public of specific times throughout the history of Korean Art. By reading the dominant figures against the sociopolitical conditions, I aim to uncover the power relationship that had imprinted the formation of the typical images of artists in each era. In doing so, I seek to reveal that the concepts of an artist have been constructed not merely by specific genius artists or movements but rather by social and political power relations of the time.