Minjung Art

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Scope note
An artistic movement in South Korea beginning in the 1980s and lasting until the 1990s. Minjung Art roughly translates as ‘people’s art’ although the meaning in Korean is more nuanced, implying a collective consciousness of action against the mainstream. The movement developed out of the wider Minjung movement in Korea that began in the 1960s, especially as a response to the military suppression of Gwangju Uprising in 1980 and as a reaction against institutional modernist art. Minjung Art generally aimed to connect with the masses through an emphasis on narrative and subject matter, and through a rejection of western modernism by incorporating traditional genres such as folk art, Buddhist art and woodcuts. Designed as social criticism, artists used satire and narrative to condemn the contemporary culture of South Korea and the west. However, the movement was somewhat divided with differing aims and ideologies and by the beginning of the 1990s, it gradually was absorbed by the mainstream as South Korea underwent democratization.
Minjung Art
Accepted term: 08-Jul-2024