Hein-kuhn Oh’s Solo Exhibition Middlemen

Hein-kuhn Oh’s Solo Exhibition Middlemen

    • Period: May 3, 2012 – June 17, 2012 (40 days)
    • Opening Reception: 6pm, Wed, May 2, 2012
    • Opening Hours: 11 am – 7 pm (Closed on Mondays)
    • Venue: 2,3F Artsonje Center
    • Entry Fee: Adult 3,000 KRW / Student 1,500 KRW
    • Hosted by Artsonje Center
    • Curated by Samuso
    • Supported by Kukje  Gallery, Epson
    • Inquiries: Artsonje Center Tel. 02-733-8945 Web. www.artsonje.org
  • Artist Talk – Hein-Kuhn Oh     4pm, Sat, June 2, 2012 at Arthall (B1), Artsonje Center

Artsonje  Center is pleased to present Hein-kuhn Oh’s solo exhibition Middlemen from May 3 to June 17, 2012,  which shows portrait photographs of the army, navy and air force all around  Korea. It is the first time to present portrait series of soldiers in a form of  art in Korea and it was able to be realized by the support of the Ministry of  National Defense since 2009.
Since 1998  Hein-kuhn Oh has worked as a documentary photographer capturing the social  landscape of the Korean society; then, for the past ten years, his portrait photographs  have reflected specific social groups within Korea regardless of gender and age.  The artist reveals instability and fragility of their desire and emotion when  they position themselves in the middle of contemporary social categories. His previous  series include Americans Them (1989-91), Itaewon Story (1993-94), Gwangju Story (1995-96), Ajumma (1997-99), Girl’s Act (2003-04) and Cosmetic  Girls (2007-08).

Whereas his  previous series including Ajumma, Girl’s  Act, and Cosmetic Girl reveal inherent  prejudice and stereotype in the Korean society through women’s portraits, Oh  presents a man’s unstable state of mind, conflicting between individuals and  collectives through portraits of soldiers. While taking photographs of military  troops, which signify a typical collective body symbolizing masculinity in the Korean  society, he discovers that the concept of “we” is erased by facing  individual soldiers. Therefore, Oh’s portraits convey obscure anxiety situated  in the middle ground of conflicting “we” and “I”. Through a  viewpoint of an absolute outsider, Oh excludes photographic devices such as  harsh lighting, unusual casting and fabricated situation. He does not either criticize  military, or represent it positively; his neutral attitude correlates with  middle tone and lighting in photography. Instead, he focuses on the background  of a picture to express a sense of isolation. The background of his pictures is  a motive, and it undertakes the role of Mise-en-Scene that is intentionally juxtaposed with objects in his photography.

Hein-kuhn  Oh states that his narrative perspective, which views military as Middleman, is merely his own reaction,  but that it does not approach the essence of objects. The issue in his works is  how one looks at an object, not what the object is. Thus, his photographs of  soldiers arouse diverse responses depending on viewers’ different personal and  individual backgrounds as well as experiences of military duty. The portraits  of soldiers, Middlemen series reveals  “an anxiety of being in the state of middle” as an individual within the Korean  society that tends to subordinate individuality within the concept of “we”.
Artist  talk and docent program is scheduled, accompanied with the exhibition and the  artist’s monograph Middlemen will be  published. The presented works will be exhibited at the GoEun Museum of  Photography in Busan from September 12 to November 20, 2012.

 Four soldier before a mock  cavalry battle, May 16 2010   2010, Pigments on fine art paper, 127x100cm

Two young soldiers, April 22  2011   2011, Pigments on fine art  paper, 137x174cm

A  seaman apprentice standing in front of a red wall, October 21 2010   2010, Pigments on fine art paper, 127x100cm

아트선재센터 110-200 서울시 종로구 율곡로3길 87
Artsonje Center   87 Yulgok-ro 3-gil Jongno-gu Seoul 110-200 Korea
t.+82 2 733 8945 f.+82 2 733 8377 www.artsonje.org