Natural settings have been popular photography subjects ― awe-inspiring landscapes, and news photos capturing historical moments have inspired many audiences and they still do.
But staged photography, which has become popular since the 1980s through the works of artists Cindy Sherman and Jeff Wall, has become a standard art practice. And photography is able to create any image, no matter how unrealistic it is.
Arario Gallery Cheongdam presents a photography and video exhibition as its first show of the year.
Titled “Maden Pictures 13,” the exhibition shows the artwork of five young artists who use photography as a medium to convey their social and personal voices and make the viewers think about their intentions beyond the constructed images.
|“AGONIST,” a laserchrome print, silicon mount by Kwak Hyun-jin (Arario Gallery)|
“We put ‘en’ to the passive form of ‘make’ to imply that the photographs are carefully staged,” said Lee YoungJoo, exhibition director of the gallery.
The scenes in the photographs exhibit their own fascinating story.
Stockholm-based artist Kwak Hyun-jin featured teenage girls in school uniforms who are standing facing a wall. The artist, who has been exploring the ethnicity gap between Sweden and Korea, tries to find the gap between their supposedly cheerful life as teenagers and the depressed side from fighting hard to survive in a competitive society.
“The girls in uniforms look identical when their faces are turned to the wall. Individuality is gone, and there remains only uniformity, which sparks viewers’ curiosity about their identity,” said Lee.
The girls in Kwak’s photos hold each other’s hands, but the overall atmosphere depressing and gloomy, implying the world in which they struggle.
Kim Ayoung reconstructed the British occupation of Geomundo Island off Korea’s southern coast from 1885 to 1887 to stem Russia’s growing influence in Korea.
In the carefully staged settings, the film portrays the daily life of British naval officers and crews and recreates the historical tension of the time.
Oh Young-seok put together video clips taken from dramas and movies and created a new film. The artist intends to raise questions about what is authentic and what is fabricated.
Park Hyun-doo creates an unrealistic setting where an ordinary man stands in a broadcasting studio. He demonstrates the idea that while broadcasters offer laughs and joy to the public with entertainers, the individuals watching the show cannot be the center of the stage.
He stages ordinary office workers and a boxer, who used to dream of becoming popular, on a quiz show stage to create a stark contrast between their reality and their unrealized dreams.
|“Blue Band,” a lightjet print by Chang Sung-eun (Arario Gallery)|
Chang Sung-eun focuses on people’s perception of space and explores whether the perception is made by subjective or objective standards.
The artist lines up 19 young people on the street to measure the width of the space. The street that seemed wide enough for a car to pass through suddenly looks narrow, indicating that it’s the matter of subjective observation of an individual.
The exhibition “Maden Pictures 13” runs from Jan. 15―March 3 at Arario Gallery Cheongdam, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 541-5701.
By Lee Woo-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)