Critic's Note: Reviewing the Old and Learning the New
As an artist whose artwork is premised on tradition, Kang Young Meon's statements on 'negation' and 'objection' of tradition may sound surprising. It must, however, be taken into account that his argument always begins with 'reinterpretation and transformation of tradition', not with 'conservation and representation of tradition'. The reinterpretation in this context refers to the review of tradition instead of a customary and stereotyped interpretation of tradition in strict compliance with the guidelines of its text. This may occur only when both the original position of the text and the current location of the context are reexamined and simultaneously contemplated. The reinterpretation of artistic creation, different from that of academics, should then focus on laying the foundations for proper positioning of the text and examining the contextual situation with greater priority. Otherwise, contemporary art will only be reduced to inherited handicraft, simply involved in restoring itself to its origins. Therefore today's artists are free to assemble or disassemble tradition as a text in a subjective manner in line with the context and background of their creation 'here, right now'.
Just as the primitive spirit of contemporary art is the outcome of the avant-garde, the goal of Kang Yong Myeon's negation and objection does not deviate from the topic of reinterpretation and transformation of tradition but rather yields an extremely mutually effective and optimal common denominator. As his view of creation by 'reviewing the old and learning the new' is adopted with the spirit of Yin-Yang and the Five Elements, antipathy, negation, and objection together with harmony, might be the key strategies with which to define his experimental art.
If, therefore, the status of his text awarded with tradition is translocated into his world of creation, it may be concluded that his text (created work), together with the context (history, tradition and contemporary socio-cultural phenomena and background), will continue to exchange ceaselessly not only the dimension of commensalism for harmonious life but also the dimension of antipathy (negation and objection as termed by him) by means of 'reinterpretation and transformation'.
Artist's Education: Hongik University. Seoul, Korea. MA., Art Education
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