Best of modern Korean photography on display

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Best of modern Korean photography on display


Koh Myung Keun s Brooklyn, 2007, chrome print Provided by JoongAng Culture Media

From eerie, black-and-white pictures of a mystic pine forest to a collage of images of the human body, the works of 10 renowned Korean photographers are now on display at the Hangaram Art Museum in southern Seoul.

The exhibition, titled 2009 Odyssey, displays some of the best Korean photography from the past 10 years and gives visitors a chance to ponder where it s headed over the next decade.

A total of 120 photos by Joo Myung Duck, Lee Gap-chul, Min Byung Hun, Choi Kwangho, Lee Jungjin, Oh Hein-kuhn, Koh Myung-keun, Kim Atta, Bae Bien-u and Koo Bohnchang are on display.

The 10 photographers are not only recognized as artists, they re also commercially successful. Each has a unique style and approach, helping diversify the 2009 Odyssey exhibit.

In the Cityscape series on display, Joo turns a critical eye on metropolitan areas, highlighting everything from huge in-your-face advertisements to towering high-rise buildings.

Bae, who grew up in Yeosu, South Jeolla, studied art in college but later fell in love with photography. He made a name for himself taking pictures of nature, particularly pine forests. In 2007, two photos from his Pine Tree series fetched a combined 100 million won ($77,235) at a Christie s auction. The black-and-white photos of the foggy pine forest in Gyeongju resemble traditional Korean ink paintings.

Koo s In the Beginning series has been popular for many years. He took pictures of different parts of the human body and linked them together with a sewing machine, marking a departure from typical photographs of real-life scenes.

Lee Gap-chul s photograph series on display resembles a documentary, illustrating fading traditions in an industrialized world. With photos of aged farmers in the countryside and an old man fixing a traditional tile roof, Lee attempts to show traces of the past.

Min s landscape photos resemble paintings, while Choi s Family series shows the fine line between life and death.

The Koh works on display are a combination of photography and sculpture. He studied sculpture at Seoul National University and photography at Pratt Institute in New York. By attaching together photos taken from different angles and perspectives, he creates a three-dimensional image.

Media agencies, public and private museums and private collectors loaned the photos to the museum for the exhibit.

2009 Odyssey runs through Aug. 18 at the Hangaram Art Museum in the Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily except July 27. Ticket prices are 4,000 won ($3) to 8,000 won. Head to Nambu Bus Terminal Station, line No. 3, exit 5. There will be master classes from 4 to 6 p.m. each Saturday. Koo Bohnchang will lead the class on July 18, Lee Gap-chul on July 25, Oh Hein-kuhn on Aug. 1 and Koh Myung-keun on Aug. 8. The classes cost 30,000 won, and reservations are required. Guided tours are available daily at 2 and 5 p.m. For more information, call (02) 2000-6471 or visit

By Limb Jae-un []
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