Exhibit revisits historic photo show
A large-scale photography exhibition that started on Tuesday at the Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA) and Ilwoo Space in central Seoul has an interesting title: “The Family of the Invisibles.”
Those who have studied the history of photography would at once notice the title comes from “The Family of Man,” a monumental photo exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1955.
“The exhibition has its anchor in the theory of photography in ‘Camera Lucida,’ an iconic book written by Barthes which had a significant influence on photography, contemporary art, cultural discourse and epistemology,” the museum explained on its website. “Based on Barthes’s idea which paid attention to invisible and marginalized beings, the exhibition criticizes the notion of an imaginary community of mankind, which was previously presented in ‘The Family of Man.’”
The exhibition is divided into four parts. Part 1 features photos related to the “Deconstruction of Myths” about patriarchy and other authorities. The works on display include American artist Jeff Koons’s photos of satirical tones and French photographer Robert Doisneau’s works that interpret the prevalent veneration of iconic works of art such as the “Mona Lisa.”
Part 2, “Into the Neutral,” explores the possibility of an authorless work, based on Barthes’s 1967 essay “The Death of the Author.” The exhibits include American artist Roni Horn’s photos that represent contemplation and American photographer Walker Evans’s well-known photos of objectivity.
Part 3, “Invisibles,” is the highlight of the exhibition, as the works on display shed light on the “minorities and the voiceless” including the homeless, refugees, transgender people and others. The photos on display include American photographer Diane Arbus’s photos of marginalized people including the portrait of four intellectually handicapped people in masks. French photographer Philippe Bazin’s series - close-up portraits of new-born babies and old persons directly before death - leave striking impressions.
Part 4, “Fiction of the Self,” is about the individual mythologies and personal worlds in the times of “the end of great narratives.” The part features photographers including Nobuyoshi Araki of Japan and Cindy Sherman of the United States.
Meanwhile, as part of other events to celebrate the 130th year of Korea-France diplomatic ties, Korean sculptor Chung Hyun’s works are now on display at the Jardin des Palais Royal in Paris. Furthermore, Paris-based Korean artist Bang Hai Ja’s solo show is ongoing at the Youngeun Museum of Contemporary Art in Gyeonggi.
BY MOON SO-YOUNG [firstname.lastname@example.org]