‘About the erased photos and the photos left behind’
Gallery Afternoon is pleased to present Muse, a solo exhibition of South Korean photographer Bang Sanghyeok opening from December 4 to 23. This is Bang’s third solo exhibition after his first solo exhibition at the <Monthly Yoon Jong-shin> studio in 2016. This exhibition, which mainly consists of photography works based on the artist's autobiographical experiences, tells the story about the photos that were erased or left behind after love. In this exhibition, about 80 photos portraying the body of former lovers and landscapes and objects that carry the emotions of that time in love will be showcased. The exhibition is entitled rated 19+.
Under the constant question of ‘Is photography really an art?’, the history of photography continues to make bold and various attempts to change from a journey that shows reality as it is into the new perspectives. However, Bang's work, in contrast, adheres to the black-and-white straight photography that realistically depicts the subject without manipulating. Contrary to the digital photography, his photographs, which are not artificially manipulated, are mainly concerned with the female body, and this candidly described human body delivers the relationship with the subjects and the wave of emotions to the viewers as they are.
Most of his works are closely in line with the artistic outlook of American photographer Edward Weston's ‘The camera sees more than the eye’. Memories stuffed into photographs started out as a medium to simply record and express reality, but the bold contrast images reproduced by using close-up, overexposure, and double exposure techniques convey more than shape. Also, you can find close-up images of everyday objects such as conch shells, flowers, and shoes in his works. The realistic expression and expanded sense of form seem to depict the essence of the object, but these emphasize the formative beauty rather than the original nature of the object, and furthermore, it acts as a device that evokes a female body or various sensitivities.
Bang's photographs began with a very personal narrative. He used photography as a tool to capture memories of lovers in the past or special relationships. Therefore, his photography is closely bound up with his own personal life for him. The act of taking a photograph monopolizes the subject in the photograph and builds a new relationship. In particular, the Muse series include the female bodies of lovers in the past, and the subject in the photograph has not only pure formative beauty but also a deep narrative from the relationship at that time.
In his solo exhibition in 2018, he set up the independent space where viewer can read about 1,300 pages photo book containing photos and conversations the artist had with his lover. Through this display method, the viewers share the artist's memory and become more absorbed in the emotion which is intended. For the artist, this emotional exchange with others is an important final destination for interweaving the pieces of past memories together and rekindling another relationship. The artist has the experience of deleting many of his works over demands of lovers after breaking up due to the work of recording the rapport with the previous loves. Consequentially, the artist hosted an exhibition with the 'remaining' photos.
In this exhibition, he will display the photographic works which are reconstructed in the present while looking at the photos left behind in the changes of the relationship surrounding him. In this solo exhibition, his recent works will be also showcased. while the earlier works focused on emotional empathy coming from the relationship with the subject, the recent work shows an image focuses on the beauty of the line and shape of the subject through strong contrasts of light and dark. We hope that viewers can feel the lyrical sensibility of analog photography that you have not felt for a while due to the glut of graphics on media and the development of photography.
About the artist
Bang Sanghyeok (b. 1988) made a name for himself with his album cover art work in 2015, and had his solo exhibition in 2016 titled ‘Wandering’ at <Monthly Yoon Jong-shin> studio, a complex cultural space located in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Afterwards in 2018, he showcased Bang Sanghyeok's photo book at Gallery ANOV, and presented his work in a way that only one viewer can enter the exhibition space and view his photo book of about 1,300 pages with music. This exhibition was buzzed-about by many people, and in August 2019, an encore exhibition was hosted at La Casa Hotel in Seoul.