The picturesque theme of Hyewon jeonsincheop 蕙園傳神帖 (Collected Paintings of Hyewon Shin Yun-bok) can best be described as a critical ridicule that makes use of the duplex placement technique. The duplicity of an abstract icon—whereby two opposing codes are conjoined with one abstract icon, i.e., one abstract icon implying two codes—is one of the more effective methods used to portray such a theme. For example, widows, yangban, Buddhist monks, ladies, female servants, and others are the original icons, but through anti-Confucian, antireligious, and amoral acts are construed as secondary abstract icons with lewd conduct, voyeurism, sexual harassment, aberration, and more. With the mechanism of the dual codes of one abstract icon, the criticism falls upon both of the two codes whereby Confucian ideology as doctrine and Confucian ideology as order (as implied by the icons) are lost. Shin did not just superficially express voyeuristic curiosity nor hedonic fantasy. His pictures include a certain critical mechanism, thus, there is much room to infer the spirit of the times in his world of painting.
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