Shining on your days

Yim Jiksoon

1921–1996 / Born in Goesan (now Chungju), Korea

Yim Jiksoon, who left great paintings with strong and mature colors, is called the “magician of colors.” During the Japanese colonial period, he moved to Japan and studied at the Japan Art School in Tokyo. After returning to Korea, he taught art at Incheon Girls’ Commercial High School and Seoul Girls’ Commercial High School. Following Oh Chiho, Yim served as a professor at Chosun University for 14 years from 1961. He stayed in Gwangju to educate students, and founded the “National Student Art Competition,” a national level of art contest. Through the establishment of the “Gwangju Sunday Artist Association” and the “Chosun University Art Research Institute,” he contributed greatly in developing figurative painting of the Western art group in Honam region.

Yim’s works are characterized by strong Fauvist color compositions. He left many paintings with brush strokes of strong colors and a seated composition mainly with women and flowers. During his time in Gwangju, he enjoyed painting natural landscapes. In the early days, he focused more on the reproduction of objects, but in the works from the 1970s and 1980s when his career reached its peak, he approached the essence of objects beyond visual appearances. This is also shown in the artist’s statement: “It has been transformed from visual truth to mind truth, and the world of colors has already changed into the world of fantasy.“ During this period, Yim constructed his own mature painting style by expressing the inspiration he felt in front of an object through subjective colors.

Yim built his artistic career by consistently exhibiting at the government-lead “Korean National Art Exhibition (hereafter referred to as the National Art Exhibition),” and won the Presidential Award at the 6th National Art Exhibition for his work Jwasang (Seated Image). By continuing to participate in the National Art Exhibition as an exhibiting artist and later as a judge, he continued to maintain a connection with Seoul while living in Gwangju, and played a role in connecting Seoul and other regions. As the artist said that color is an innate nature, his works make viewers to be absorbed into the aesthetically expanded world by adding the concept of light within colors.

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