Saturday, October 10, 2015

Basquiat's Spiritual Portraits

Jean Michel Basquat's image (left) reminds me of the warrior Janggung (center) from Kim Keumhwa's shrine at Keumhwa-dang on Kangwhado, Korea and another (right) from Yoon Yeosul's book Searching for Origin of Folk Religion -- Painting of Shamanism. [원형을 찾아서 토속신앙의 巫俗畵|, 2004, Seoul: ICOM].




Coincidence? Perhaps, but I am more than ever convinced that Basquiat "saw" spirits. Perhaps he thought no one else knew their identities. How wrong he was!

Here's another set, including Kim Keumhwa  (center and below) and one of her proteges (male) officiating at a kut ritual featuring the Taegam, official. I particularly like the piece by Basquiat (left) as it illustrates the layering of costumes that a shaman may wear in the course of transitioning from presenting one spirit in quick succession after another. Below you can see many "antique" taenghwa, spirit paintings, in Kim Keumhwa's pantheon. For more information about Korean shaman painting, please see  God in Pictures in Korean Contexts: The Ownership and Meaning of Shaman Paintings by Laurel Kendall, Jongsung Yang and Yul Soon Yoon. (Honolulu. University of Hawaii Press. 2015).