“Floating Mind”: Art, Nature and Myth

Prof Doc Thesis

Kang, Eem Yun 2012. “Floating Mind”: Art, Nature and Myth. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Arts and Digital Industries https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.1860
AuthorsKang, Eem Yun
TypeProf Doc Thesis

During my three years of this doctorate programme, I have explored the notion of the ‘floating mind’. In Art Anthropology, Japanese philosopher Nakazawa Shinichi describes the term ‘floating mind’ as something that does not have any specific form, colour or direction. Rather, it is something free to move which contains multidimensional shapes or forms. Shinichi (2006, p.39) points out that this ‘floating mind’ originates from the beginning of creative thinking. In Shinichi’s practice, myth related to the idea of ‘floating mind’ starts with questioning natural phenomena and requires a creative way of thinking about nature and human existence.
In this report I will explore the various definitions of ‘myth’. Through the process of research, I will define how I use the concept of myth in the final project of my doctorate programme. I will also look into the relationship between myth, Shinichi’s ‘floating mind’ and Deleuze’s idea of ‘becoming’. In the section related to the research on artists, I will investigate Cy Twombly’s use of classical myth in relation to poetry and Palaeolithic art. I will analyse the Korean artist Jong Mok Lee and his interpretation of nature in his visual language; I will also investigate the relationship of nature to his work. In addition to these two artists, I will refer to the British painter Katy Moran in comparison to my creative practice.
I have combined the ideas of myth and nature in order to be able to visualise the idea of the ‘floating mind’. In every myth, the vital part of the story contains different forms of transformation or metamorphosis. Metamorphosis can be seen as the climax of the myth. In metamorphosis, nature can be the location of a mythical story or simply a landscape where myth can exist. This concept of metamorphosis in myth intrigued me to the point
that I asked myself how to capture transformation within my painting practice, as transformation contains time-based elements.
During the first year of my doctorate programme I explored the concept of myth through painting. I questioned how to capture the moment when metamorphosis happens and how the duration of the transformation can be explored through the process of drawing. The paintings resulting from this introspection appeared to be ambiguous and became abstract and expressive. It was difficult to point out what kind of transformation I would be able to capture. This led me to experiment with ceramic clay during the second year of my doctorate programme. During the process of firing the ceramic work, transformation happened as the clay changed its chemical characteristics. During this process I could not witness or take control while the transformation took place. I could only see before and after the process of firing. Whereas in the process of painting, I could always witness the transformation while I worked and therefore I could better control the result of my work at each given stage.
Throughout this doctorate programme, the elements of nature, transformation and myth have permeated into my practice. The idea of nature in relation to myth and endless transformation will be expanded in my final project ‘Hidden’. This will consist of a large-scale (18m) series of continuous paintings representing mystic landscapes containing poetic moments and narrative, in particular the story of a whale in a mountain.

KeywordsMyth; Nature; Painting; Ceramics
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.1860
Publication dates
PrintMar 2012
Publication process dates
Deposited02 Apr 2013
Publisher's version
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