[FOUNTAIN]Old lessons and new ones

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[FOUNTAIN]Old lessons and new ones

"Hunyo Sipjo" are 10 lessons that the Goryeo Dynasty founder Taejo Wang Geon delivered just before his death. The 10 pieces of advice were spoken 1,060 years ago to advise the scions of the royal family. The lessons were based on the feng shui principle, the predominant ideology of the time. Thus, it is obvious that the 10 principles do not sound realistic and reasonable today.

"I have accomplished the great achievement of national unification based on the magical power of our country's rivers and mountains," the king's last words read. "Pyeongyang is a strategic place located at the center of our country's terrestrial backbone, so my successor must visit and stay there," the king advised.

Although the 10 lessons are impractical when read today, they are an important historical record, and they served as the foundation for the Goryeo Dynasty's ruling philosophy throughout its 400 years.

Yoon Bum-mo, a well-known contemporary art critic, recently published "The True Color of Fine Arts." In his book, Mr. Yoon offers a critical essay that points out the problems of our art community. Titled "Hunyo Sipjo for Artists Who Want to Be Famous," the essay is named for the Goryeo founder's lessons. Mr. Yoon explains that he wanted to teach lessons to readers and students through the essay. But borrowing the title of the ancient royal document for his acrimonious piece against the art community smells of something fishy. And they are not lessons, but paradoxes.

Subtitled "The rules of success in Korea's fine arts community that everyone knows but no one dares to say aloud," the lessons are:

1. Dump your historical consciousness in the trash can.

2. Always follow the trends of leading foreign countries.

3. Paint expressionless decorative pieces for your survival.

4. Become famous, no matter what it may cost.

5. Form a clique and take good care of your personal connections.

6. Fancy up your career.

7. Choose to become a professor instead of a career artist.

8. Never read books.

9. Put a high price tag on your paintings.

10. Exchange your spirit with philistinism.

Mr. Yoon's satire is not only applicable to the art community but also other areas of society. In truth, Mr. Yoon's real argument is that we need to upgrade our society with as much energy and noise as the Red Devils have in the streets.



The writer is a deputy culture news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Oh Byung-sang

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