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250 × 190 mm
264 pages
171 illustrations, 133 in colour
21 Jul 2017

Korean Art from the 19th Century to the Present Charlotte Horlyck

Korean artists are a permanent fixture on today’s international art scene, as interest in modern and contemporary art from South as well as North Korea has grown in strength. Museums and individual collectors eager to tap into this rising market are acquiring many more Korean artworks. But how are we to understand Korean art and its cultural significance? What has led to the formation of Korea’s cultural scene as we know it today, and what role have artists played in this process? These are some of the questions that frame the narrative in this richly illustrated history of Korean art from the late nineteenth century to the present day – a period which coincided with enormous and rapid political, social and economic change.

From artists’ first encounters with oil paintings in the late nineteenth century to the varied and vibrant creative outputs of the 2000s, the book covers a critical and, from a cultural perspective, revolutionary period, signified by the breakdown of earlier artistic conventions and the rise of new art forms. Within this historical trajectory, Charlotte Horlyck explores artists’ interpretations of new and traditional art forms ranging from oil and ink paintings to video art, multi-media installations, ready-mades and performance, and their questions about the role of art and the artist’s position within society. This book will appeal equally to general and specialist readers wanting to explore this rich and fascinating epoch in Korea’s cultural history.

‘A compelling look at the history of Korean art and the events that shaped it . . . Profusely illustrated.’
ARLIS/NA Reviews

Korean Art from the 19th Century to the Present is one of the most significant and most accessible surveys of Korean art to date. It is a bonus that the volume has a rich collection of photographs including rare images. The volume is a fascinating book that surveys Korean modern and contemporary art, focusing on carefully selected events, artworks and artists closely related to the massive social, political and economic changes in Korea pre, during and post colonialization, the division of the nation and the consequent modernisation of the South.’ – European Journal of Korean Studies

‘Charlotte Horlyck has written a lively and engaging account of the course, or courses, that Korean art has taken over the past century and a half . . . The willingness to explore and to challenge conventions has continued among South Korean artists, who now make a vibrant contribution to the international art scene. Dr Horlyck is good at placing these developments within their social and political context . . . offers a rounded assessment of developments from a Western perspective . . . All
in all, an impressive contribution to research’ – Asian Affairs

‘This rigorously researched volume thoroughly fleshes out the historical, social and political landscape that fostered the creation of art in Korea over the last hundred years . . . This book is a welcome addition to the few publications on the subject, as Horlyck develops a full art-historical picture of Korea in the twentieth century. The illustrations are good quality and varied, the glossary of Korean terms and artists is second-to-none and the bibliography is equally rich. Current scholarship on specific artists and interpretations of certain movements or practices are discussed and in stopping short of expressing her own opinions, Horlyck neatly avoids viewing the art of Korea through a “Western lens”.’ – Burlington Magazine

‘Provides a fascinating insight into the greatest century of political, social and cultural change in the history of Korea, the focus of artistic as well as military confrontation between East and West.’ – Keith Pratt, Emeritus Professor, Durham University

‘This book covers over 100 years of Korean modern art in one flow by explaining each period’s art scenes with well-documented information. It suggests the inseparable relationship between art and politics under the dynamically changing social context in and out of Korea.’ – Jungsil Jenny Lee, University of Kansas

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Charlotte Horlyck is Lecturer in Korean Art History at SOAS, University of London, where she teaches on Korean art from pre-modern to contemporary times. She has published widely on Korean material culture.