While South Korea’s promoters push images of tourist landmarks and tech masterpieces, one expat artist is looking at the smaller things in his representation of Korea.
From an order bell from a bar or restaurant to a cup of instant coffee stirred with the “stick” packaging, the subjects of Joe Wabe’s upcoming photo exhibition explore the smaller things that make Korea unique.
“This subculture of popular manners and traditions, which are not mass promoted or well known among newcomers and are sometimes overlooked, are the ones that I personally believe combine to form the pure core of a cultural identity,” Wabe said.
The photos themselves are minimalist in their composition, with a focus on the objects in question and empty backgrounds, allowing the viewer to imagine their own contexts.
“I want to invite the viewer to make a connection with their own experiences and memories and invite them to travel to the source of hidden treasures of the Korean experience,” Wabe said. “There are probably millions of these underground traditions that represent so much, and I’m sure that by looking at some of these, more will emerge from people’s minds, thus stretching the experience even further.”
The “VIDACOREA” exhibition runs at Salt Art Gallery in Gwangju from Friday until May 21.
An opening reception will be held Friday from 7-9 p.m.