Tuesday, January 17, 2012
scenes of utopia by Kim Yoon Min @ Busan Museum of Art
In those decades of turmoil when his landsmen suffered from repression under colonization, civil war and dictatorship, Kim Yoon Min (김윤민, 1919-1998, lived and worked in Busan) painted scenes of mothers, children, mountains, rivers and cows. In soft blue and green shades with curves over curves. Again and again.
In the Chinese influenced traditions blue did not stand for coolness or depression but for nature, life, harmony and peace - just as much as green. Green and blue were shades of the same color. At least there was just one word to refer to blue and green and the linguistic distinctions that are made today seems to be a result of western influences.
Like in the few paintings of Edward Hopper (1882-1967) that include people in the landscape, there are some mysterious, unrealistic moments in a realistic whole. Yoon, who has studied Western paintings from 1937-1941 in Osaka (thus during the Japanese annexation) could have known the great American painter but he could have as well not be aware of him (Hopper became nationwide recognized in the 1930ies).
What the paintings of the two painters have in common are the absolute silence of the illustrated atmosphere and the vividness of colors. On the other hand the form of Kim's mountains, rivers and trees are so typical for Korean landscapes, that there is a clear reference to his own surroundings.
And like Igor Stravinsky who, in the outbreak of a world war, "dreamed about spring in Russia" (Sir Simon Rattle on "Le sacre du printemps") in his revolutionary ballet piece, Kim must have hoped for a better time for his country while working on his pastoral paintings - a greener and blueer time.
Paintings of Kim Yoon Min are exhibited until Feb 19th, 2012 at the Busan Museum of Art.