Rethinking Korean Women's Art from a Post-territorial Perspective: Focusing on Korean-Japanese third generation women artists' experience of diaspora and an interpretation of their work

탈영토적 시각에서 볼 수 있는 한국여성미술의 비평적 가능성 : 재일동포3세 여성화가의 '디아스포라'의 경험과 작품해석을 중심으로

  • Received : 2012.08.31
  • Accepted : 2012.11.10
  • Published : 2012.12.31


After liberation from Japanese colonial rule in 1945, there was the three-year period of United States Army Military Government in Korea. In 1948, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and Republic of Korea were established in the north and south of the Korean Peninsula. The Republic of Korea is now a modern state set in the southern part of the Korean. We usually refer to Koreans as people who belong to the Republic of Korea. Can we say that is true exactly? Why make of this an obsolete question? The period from 1945 when Korea was emancipated from Japanese colonial rule to 1948 when the Republic of Korea was established has not been a focus of modern Korean history. This three years remains empty in Korean history and makes the concept of 'Korean' we usually consider ambiguous, and prompts careful attention to the silence of 'some Koreans' forced to live against their will in the blurred boundaries between nation and people. This dissertation regards 'Koreans' who came to live in the border of nations, especially 'Korean-Japanese third generation women artists'who are marginalized both Japan and Korea. It questions the category of 'Korean women's art' that has so far been considered, based on the concept of territory, and presents a new perspective for viewing 'Korean women's art'. Almost no study on Korean-Japanese women's art has been conducted, based on research on Korean diaspora, and no systematic historical records exist. Even data-collection is limited due to the political situation of South and North in confrontation. Representation of the Mother Country on the Artworks by First and Second-Generation Korean-Japanese(Zainich) Women Artists after Liberation since 1945 was published in 2011 is the only dissertation in which Korean-Japanese women artists, and early artistic activities. That research is based on press releases and interviews obtained through Japan. This thesis concentrates on the world of Korean-Japanese third generation women artists such as Kim Jung-sook, Kim Ae-soon, and Han Sung-nam, permanent residents in Japan who still have Korean nationality. The three Korean-Japanese third generation women artists whose art world is reviewed in this thesis would like to reveal their voices as minorities in Japan and Korea, resisting power and the universal concepts of nation, people and identity. Questioning the general notions of 'Korean women' and 'Korean women's art'considered within the Korean Peninsula, they explore their identity as Korean women outside the Korean territory from a post-territorial perspective and have a new understanding of the minority's diversity and difference through their eyes as marginal women living outside the mainstream of Korean and Japanese society. This is associated with recent post-colonial critical viewpoints reconsidering myths of universalism and transcendental aesthetic measures. In the 1980s and 1990s art museums and galleries in New York tried a critical shift in aesthetic discourse on contemporary art history, analyzed how power relationships among such elements as gender, sexuality, race, nationalism. Ghost of Ethnicity: Rethinking Art Discourses of the 1940s and 1980s by Lisa Bloom is an obvious presentation about the post-colonial discourse. Lisa Bloom rethinks the diversity of race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender each artist and critic has, she began a new discussion on artists who were anti-establishment artists alienated by mainstream society. As migration rapidly increased through globalism lead by the United States the aspects of diaspora experience emerges as critical issues in interpreting contemporary culture. As a new concept of art with hybrid cultural backgrounds exists, each artist's cultural identity and specificity should be viewed and interpreted in a sociopolitical context. A criticism started considering the distinct characteristics of each individual's historical experience and cultural identity, and paying attention to experience of the third world artist, especially women artists, confronting the power of modernist discourses from a perspective of the white male subject. Considering recent international contemporary art, the Korean-Japanese third generation women artists who clarify their cultural identity as minority living in the border between Korea and Japan may present a new direction for contemporary Korean art. Their art world derives from their diaspora experience on colonial trauma historically. Their works made us to see that it is also associated with postcolonial critical perspective in the recent contemporary art stream. And it reminds us of rethinking the diversity of the minority living outside mainstream society. Thus, this should be considered as one of the features in the context of Korean women's art.