Monthly Archives: May 2014

Hye-Ryoung Min guest curates at Lenscratch

Aline Smithson and her Lenscratch blog are a constant source of great photography. Whether she is producing her own projects or scouring the web for new and interesting work to post to Lenscratch, Aline is a photo-dynamo.

This past week Hye Ryoung Min guest curated a series of posts at Lenscratch highlighting five contemporary Korean photographers:

EunKyung Shin and at Lenscratch
Yang Jae Kwang and at Lenscratch
Jung Jihyun and at Lenscratch
Lim Soo Sik and at Lenscratch

The series is well worth an extended read. Eun Kyung Shin’s Photo Studios and Jung Jihyun’s Space Between Creation and Destruction immediately resonated with me, though I’m travelling and haven’t had time to give the entire series of posts (and the linked photographer’s sites) with the deeper attention that they deserve. I’ll have more to say about the work Hye Ryoung has shared, hopefully sooner rather than later. And, hopefully I’ll be able to find some of this work in book form at some point.

On The Line, ed. Shin Suejin

Here in American it is Memorial Day Weekend. It is the official start of the summer driving season. BBQ grills are on overdrive, and nearly everyone is gathered around one. In Brooklyn the cyclists are out in droves, and the mood is festive. The skies are blue. And, oh by the way, the weekend is meant to provide an opportunity to memorialize those who have given everything to preserve this country in the many (military) struggles it has been engaged in and to reflect upon their sacrifice.

To extend this memorializing and reflection to another country and another culture is dangerous. To even broach the raw emotions of contemporary politics is more dangerous still (and rude). Well, so be it.
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ajumma, Hyoung Kuhn Oh

The very first Korean word that I learned was “ajumma.” That makes no sense; why not “ahn nyong ha se yo” or “sarang hea yo”? I don’t know; the word must have just come up somehow. Anyway, let’s talk ajumma, Hyoung Kuhn Oh’s ajumma.

I got this book on my first trip to Korea. It should never have ended up in my basket. The cover was tatty; the title was difficult to read against the dark cover stock; some of the signatures were starting to fall out; the printing is flat and dark. The photographs are, however, poignant and funny and a little sinister. The book is not without its charms (and two essays with English translations…).
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Casual Pieces 1, Hasisi Park

A friend wrote an essay for the Carl Andre catalog that accompanies his retrospective at the Dia:Beacon. We accompanied she and her fiance, another friend, to a preview of the exhibit before it opened to the public.

During a brief welcome talk, Yasmil Raymond noted that artists make both “Art” with a capital “A” and “art” with a lower-case “a”. A number of Andre’s lower-case “a” artworks were presented as a means of showing his artistic process. There was also a video piece that she took pains to note showed him “conceiving” a work of art. He wasn’t making a work; he was conceiving a work.

A selection of photographs taken by Andre (lower case “a” art pieces) could be read as a visual keystone to understanding his conceptual process. The photographs were of steel plates on roadways, paving stones piled on curbs and heavy wooden support beams: the observational raw materials that became his structured conceptual works.

These got my mind working to categorize photographers between observational and conceptual. The last several books reviewed here have been very much conceptual in nature: photographs created to fulfill a central concept. While these can be incisive, they can also be too clean or become illustrative and repetitive. I thought it would be good to change pace and segue to something a little more observational, a little more raw.

One of the first SSE-P zines I acquired was Hasisi Park’s [jjim jil bang] Korea. It came up in the review of the SSE-P project. Park’s straightforward photographs always held something back obscuring as much as they revealed. I made a mental note to keep an eye out for her name.
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