Spreading the charm of Korean literary paintings

안정희 기자l승인2019.08.29l수정2019.08.29 14:28






▲ Artist / Literary painting artist Im Dong-ryul aka Minye

Literary paintings are ink paintings containing a poem in calligraphy. This art style was widely used among scholars and nobles during the Joseon dynasty in Korea as a means to express their thoughts and emotions. While the art is still enjoyed by people today, the works of literary painting artist Im Dong-ryul aka Minye are attracting better attention. 

Literary paintings in Korea, calligraphy from China
Im liked copying manga characters very much when he was little. He happened to make an artist friend when in a graduate school and deepened his interest in art by touring art museums and appreciating oriental landscape paintings in particular. Also grew his interest was oriental philosophies which was just natural considering ‘the particular’ he clings to, and it has become the foundation for his art world. 

Putting his passion in art into action for many years, he fatefully encountered with two teachers one a Korean and another Chinese. “I came to know the Chinese teacher during the 9 years of my stay in China; he was a political party officer and recognized as a master calligrapher. The Korean teacher, on the other hand, is recognized as a great influence in the teaching materials of literary paintings. Without my teachers, I wouldn’t have been who I am today” looked back Im.

As his skills improved and number of works piled up day by day, so did the recognition from the people: he has won around 40 prizes in various art competitions including the Grand Exhibition of Korean Art, Jeongseon Arirang Calligraphy Competition, Korea Master Artists Exhibition, Korea Fan Art Exhibition, Unkok Art Exhibition, Sochi Art Exhibition, and Sin Saimdang Art Exhibition. Currently, Im is busy for a coming invitational exhibition in Fukuoka, Japan.

Beauty of space
‘Inspiration’ and ‘creativity’ are the two most important elements of Im. “Because”, he explains, “literary painting requires the beauty of space and the beauty of space often comes from an inspirational and creative mind. In order for one to make the beauty of space, one must empty one’s mind first so that new things should be poured in.” 

He also emphasizes the manners a nobleman or a scholar must have. He believes that the truth comes from one’s manners; in other words, from one’s way of thinking, of expressing and of putting into action. A great Korean zen master Seosan Daesa once said “When you walk the snow-covered field, walk straight as it will be the lead for followers”, a teaching Im values very highly. 

As many artists have this talent, Im also sometimes improvises his own poems or words on his works. A poem, for example, goes like this: “Li Bai and Kim So-wol loved your integrity but why are you still a friend of everyone?” So much the better if there is a Korean zither streaming melodies to calligraphies and literary paintings, which Im is fully enjoying playing it every now and then for a hobby. 


안정희 기자  honesty5835@naver.com
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