Special Solo Exhibition #1
Existing in Costume by Chan-Hyo Bae
Greetings from AHAF Hong Kong 13!
The theme of AHAF Hong Kong 13’s special exhibition will be Korean contemporary photography. Chan-Hyo Bae; Bae, Joon-Sung; Ahn, Jun; and Kim, Dong-Yoon will each hold special solo exhibition. Breaking away from the traditional photography, these artists are motivated to create and experiment new types of photography. In our newsletters, we wish to preview these artists. First of these artists is Chan-Hyo Bae.
After graduating from Slade School of Fine Art in London, Chan-Hyo Bae mostly works on self-portraits that express his identity as an Asian man living in the Western society. In his work series, called <Self Portrait – Existing in Costume>, Bae dressed himself as a lady in high status. An Asian man dressed as a lady might look ridiculous at first, but it not only expresses the strangeness, isolation, and prejudices that Bae faced as living in London, but also questions the old ideologies and prejudices that lingers in the Western society until today.
In this special exhibition, the new Punishment Series will be introduced to the public, along with the Existing in Costume and Fairy Tales Project. Through this special exhibition, the public will be able to look through how Bae had developed his work over the time.
In the Punishment Series the artist now dresses himself as England’s historical figures, such as Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Bae believes that prejudices formed from the lack of understanding for the other culture relate to the human desire to maintain the authority and to maintain that authority by differentiating and discriminating the others. This human will to dominate others can be strongly visualized by the punishment. By dressing himself as those authoritative historical figures, Bae wishes to experiment his identity by forcing himself in between the two cultures.
The Fairy Tales Project, including Cinderella, Snow White, and the Beauty and the Beast, portrays the ideal world of the Western fairy tales. But this ideal world contains the issues of discrimination, hierarchical society, and other social and political conflict that we often wish to ignore and avoid. In his work Bae wish to talk to the public about these uncomfortable but yet must be solved problems in the society.
Therefore, Bae’s entire works stand for the artist’s experience of finding self-identity in the clash between two different cultures through the Western fairy tales and historical truth.
Special Solo Exhibition #2
Unveiled by Ahn Jun
According to photographer Ahn Jun, the allure of photography is not the media itself, but its distinctive quality. “Humans perceive with five senses the world that continues endlessly, in that world stays a piece of time away from the contextualization, where the hearing, smell, taste and touch are eliminated, an illusion-like moment that can only be seen through photography” says the artist, by proposing her giddy point of view.
The works of Ahn Jun express the boundary. That boundary is a border between life and death, as well as a border between reality and illusion.
Her <Self-Portrait> series, where she put and shot herself on the edge of the skyscraper or cliff, started from the idea that the outspread landscape inside and outside of the city view, can be one of the illusions. The action of taking photography of the movement that comes by the effort of maintaining her balance on the boundary of a skyscraper or cliff is also a performance that transforms the boundary that she wishes to express in the form of photography. Bird’s Eye View Angle, the distinctive quality of this series permitted the artist to feel and see the gap from the surface that exists in distance, and capture the moment of illusion into reality by using her camera.
<Float>series give breathes with camera the inconceivable moments in reality in the heart of pollution within noise and dust. The stones that fall through the grinder from construction site are similar to uncountable numbers of stars when seen with space-like view, and it is beautiful for it resembles to us humans.
When we consider <Float> series as halted and life fulfilled silence between the boundaries of spaces that the artist tried to express in her <Self-Portrait> series, these two series look different but they have a connection by forming one big space. Ahn Jun’s work that makes us analyze the photography by concurring the moments, expresses well the inner mind.
In Ahn Jun’s work that looks familiar but has a new point of view, distinctive character of photography can be found. Using a fast shutter speed that can record a blink of an instant, a moving object is represented in the frame as a stone object. Not only was she able to properly seize herself as photographed subject in dangerous situations, falling stones are expressed in a way where they can be seen as stars in the sky. Sequence shooting using fast shutter speed plays an important role in creating her unique and sensible works by pertinent composition.
Special Solo Exhibition #3
The Costume of Painter by Bae, Joon-sung
The phrase, “The Costume of Painter”, implies not the costume painted by artist, but what suddenly happens to the artist while painting the costume. by Bae, Joon-sung
The spectators in front of Bae Joon-sung’s work do not cease moving. Adapting the most universal images in oriental and occidental art history – David, Ingres, four gracious plants in the oriental drawing, etc- was he expecting his spectators continuously making unexpected movements through his creations? In his works that make the public to come up with endless questions in smiley faces, the artist’s point of view concerning the world and his creation is concealed.
If we were to consider his works as just something that broke away from traditional painting method because he uses lenticular and photographic methods, his expressional structure has a much more complex and systematic method. His expressional structure is constructed of several overlapped views and layers of action. Especially by adapting familiar images in art history as the frame of his work, he separates his role by a drawing person and a looking person. Therefore, his work overlapped points of views. Furthermore, in adapting images, he looks mainly on 17th century portraits, and focuses on the points where the viewer pays attention while observing. They were mainly the costumes the portraits were wearing. We can remark this fact from his work title, for he always starts his work’s title by “the Costume of Painter”. “The Costume of Painter” can be interpreted as a costume painted by a painter, but according to the artist, it is also the layer that is derived from that peculiar point of view, and as an incident that occurs by painting the costume.
Mutual relation between the work and the spectator
Bae’s work that possesses this peculiar visual structure interacts once more through the expressional mediums. For the spectators do not feel in front of his work, the silent pressure that he felt as a viewer to ‘name’ the meaning or to ‘dissect’, he has hidden the communicational passage elements in every nook and corners of his work. He brings lenticular and photography into his expressional methods for maximum expression of layered images. He communicates with spectators not by the eager effort to find meaning of image in still image, but by focusing on the image itself, and the movement made by the spectators to find the hidden meaning. Art critic Bang Yoon-ho compared BAE’s work with Jacque Lacan’s Ecrit who expressed his writing as easily recognizable form because we cannot reach the imagination and the reality through the language symbol. It has a common meaning surpassing the simple comprehension of image with BAE’s work that included participating action itself to his work.
Special Solo Exhibition #4
New photographs by Kim, Dong-yoon
Like traces of articles on palimpsest from ancient Egypt, I am interested in certain places in urban environment where the part of history is remained. Monuments such as old palaces and cathedrals are restored and old parks are filled with relatively new trees which were planted after the war. This is one of the how memories are piled up in the city but I can’t be sure of whether title or name is literally pointing out the same object. In this project, this suspicion is juxtaposed with images created by the distortion of camera lens. Obstructed visionary, provoked by the distortion, bars approaching to the ‘real’ and suffocation of the image screens the ‘reality’.
Artist Kim, Dong-yoon talks about the meaningful places through his works. Each individual lives with a memory of special and meaningful place, and those places, although may not exist in reality, becomes reminiscence. For the artist, the meaningful places are not restrained in past experience or expectation about the future. He believes that the term ‘meaningful places’ comprises of people’s concern about their own places, and the relation between people and their world based on admiration and respect.
Kim, Dong-yoon believes that newly restored historical building may have the same location and name as the past; however, it is not completely identical. Although they may have the same look, the social relations, created from the traces of memory and the reminiscence of the past, is completely disconnected.
He films these traces of memory and the reminiscence of the past that belong to the places using two large pin-hole cameras, filming the first one naturally without any modification, and the other one through a circular lens causing distortion. He superposes the two differently filmed images by using each projector for each image, producing symmetrical image that are layered and distorted.
The historical place created by this process is not as vivid or objective image of the reality, but is a vague form of image, as Pierre Nora’s, Place of Memory. The artist states this group of layered and superposed vague images is close to the fact, but far from reality. It is because the place in the image has a distance from what we see with our eyes in reality, but it reveals the place’s social relation as conglomeration of memory.
In this special exhibition, artist Kim, Dong-Yoon will represent about 10 pieces of works concentrated on Perec’s series, which will be an opportunity to view this works, representing most of his career.
AHAF Young Artist Special Exhibition
Being in the Moment
Every Year AHAF Hong Kong 13 introduces young, yet qualified artists through carefully selected young artists contest. This year’s Young Artist Exhibition is titled Being in the Moment well represents their own understanding and interpretation of the time and space.
The space we breathe in may be the same, but the perception differs for everyone by their personal experience and beliefs. This is because the meaning given to the specific space consists of personal experience and observation. Therefore, the perception and understanding of a space must differ for every artist, because the perception and understanding of a space is subjective and relative. These clichéd discussion and questions were constantly used and asked by various exhibitions. However, these discussions question the principle and the most basic question of the art: interpretation of the space and time. Therefore, observing these arguments from the young artist may be challenging. These artists would be showing their fundamental, bare, and yet unperfected theories of the time and space. But fresh and original theories are definitely worth questioning and would contribute greatly to further development of these young artists.
PARK Chan-gil’s space helps to reconstruct pieces of childhood memories. A child, possibly self-portrait of the artist in his childhood, is constructed with the fragments. These fragments are loosely held together, completely leaving the child looking so fragile and frail. But these fragments become a clue to finding the memories forgotten from the childhood. These fragments represent the artist’s urge to find through finding pieces of his childhood memories and trying to return to childhood
On the other hand, LEE Young-je used bubbles as a metaphor for memory. Containing not only the memory, but also the sentiments of the childhood, the bubbles create fantastical and dreamy-like images. In his works LEE tries to show the irony that the memory has; the everlasting, and yet instantaneous quality of memory.
PARK Ji-eun’s subject matter is the cityscape. The China ink spread on the surface of the canvas and the cityscape in acrylic represent the perplexed feelings about living in a hectic city.
KIM Ki-min uses a child as his subject matter to create uneasy feelings. The immovable body of the child contrasts with the eyes that follow us around. The uneasy and uncomfortable feelings, created by eyes following us around and continuously staring, allow us to discover the secret wish to stay youthful and keep child-like innocence forever, and wash away the deteriorated and spoiled grown-up self.
The two artists, CHOI Hye-ran and YAMAUCHI Mami, seem to use similar techniques to express in their works, but their intentions for the paintings are completely different. CHOI, in her countlessly overlapped images, projects the senseless and thoughtless consumption in materialistic contemporary society through reflected images on the shop windows. These reflections cannot exist without true existing figure, but the reflections are not the figure itself. By endlessly reflecting her subject matters, CHOI plays with this idea of reflection to define her true self in these reflections. On the other hand, YAMAUCHI traces of fading memory. The images that are out of focus well represent her wish to hold on to the memories that are fading. Unlike many other young artists, YAMAUCHI captured the depth of the time passing and the unending longing for the memory from the past.
Young artists always offer unique and characteristic interpretations and solutions to various issues that the society presents to them. Their interpretations and solutions are not only expressed through the result, but also through the process. And it is the process that often interests people. By observing the process that these young artists define and construct their own views of the society, we also can offer refreshed and diverse opinions ourselves.