International Journal of Art & Design Education

Korean Artists in Transcultural Spaces: Constructing New National Identities(pages 223–234)

Volume 33.2   2014



This article reports research on New York-based Korean artists' dynamic processes of identity-shaping and the implications that these processes have for art education. The study uses postcolonial theories that illuminate the dialectical process of hybrid cultural production in the global dimension. The artists' identities narrated elucidate the recognition of difference with others; this identification emerges as the artists simultaneously escape from and discover their Korean identities. The artists' childhood experiences and memories work as reflective thinking in their different context, and because of their search for an individual identity, Korean culture is an important factor in their art making. When their identity formation and practice are in constant negotiation with difference, this results in learning and translating from others. They assume an ‘open universalism’ necessary to communicate at an international level, and as a consequence these artists' identity formation always involves the process of a doubling and dividing of reflections of existing Korean identities as well as the building of new ones. In this dualistic state, the artists' multiple identities remain heterogeneous, composed of contradictory factors that are revealed in the artists' hybrid artworks.