Every year since 2012, GoEun Museum of Photography with KT&G SangsangMadang has presented New Force of Photography
an exhibition to discover and support new artists pursuing photographic authenticity and challenging themselves to new experiments. GoEun Contemporary Photo Museum and KT&G SangsangMadang’s SKOPF (Sangsangmadang Korean Photographer's Fellowship) program have made continuous efforts to suggest a new future and opportunities to Korea’s photography scene. This program intends to interact with those artists who will guide the direction of future Korean photography and communicate with them. This year, New Force of Photography
highlights Heeza Bahc and Kyungeun Han, the artist of the year and the final artist of the year selected by Sangsangmadang Korean Photographer’s Fellowship program.
Kyungeun Han, the final artist of the year, has always shown interest in the relationship between female body and psychology. The artist questions how women from birth to death endure the evident and silent oppressions of this male centered society by living in a body of ‘other’. She uses the rapport process where the participants modeling for the photo share their experience and emotions, and actively involves the process in the project. The resulting influence establishes a character unique to Han’s photography. In particular, her thriller-like shooting methods are linked to her experiments expressing psychological trauma on the surface of photographs. In Plasticity of Memory
(2012-2013), through the internet the artist recruited those young adults in their 20s who are about to enter into their real life, and identified a common memory from their writings. Participants each had to face their own wounds and the wounds were visualized as make up applied on their faces. Rather than refining the wounds’ details, the artist revived them as abstract scars to discover a common factor of wounds hidden behind the ordinary looks. Invisible Vision
(2015-2017) is a documentation of two people struggling to overcome the practice dominating their bodies. Foucault has once described body as ‘the prison of soul’. In order to sync oneself with the body, one must go through the repeated conflicts between oneself and the body, as well as between oneself and the society. That’s how difficult it is to obtain identity. Han documents this process dramatically, or expressively. The body denying oneself and confronting the rough nature reminds one of the battle between mankind and Archangel Gabriel.
The artist of the year Heeza Bahc captures unusual figures discovered in everyday life in the form of photography. These substitute her psychological status felt from the condition she is in. The despair she experienced when she turned thirty continues in The Women of Island
(2012-2013) series. Body of the woman rolled, folded and laid on her side fails to become a social presence but is presented as a being trapped indoors. Captivated by weariness inside the house, the woman shows her status through her body and not her words. Like still life, the woman lies on the ground with her back turned against the viewers, and she reminds one of the angry mother, or female body revolting after losing her voice. Art School Project
(2015-2017) started from a studio in Czech Art School
where the artist stayed as an exchange student. She continued with the project later after she returned to Korea. In fact this studio is closer to a surgical operating room or the insides of a factory. The place questions beauty and ugliness, and is of dual nature showing that creation is only possible through a violent process. Inside the studio, Heeza Bahc discovers the scenery of contemporary art randomly created by art and ordinary life, as well as by artwork and objects. Even a meaningless piece of stone looks like a meditative installation with significant meaning and the rock laid beneath the dusty and old television machine reminds one of the history behind media art. The bizarre landscapes involuntarily created by natural and artificial objects ranging from minimalism, ready-made, geometric composition of the screen, to installation art, are common sceneries of an art school studio and at the same time question what is art after all.
From a photographer’s perspective Han and Bahc show distinctively different attitudes. Han penetrates deeply into her own work and experiences the process first hand. Bahc focuses on the gaze. She gazes at the object intensively and presents the joy of interpreting the conditions and signs created by the objects and people inside the scene. Meanwhile both artists reveal their own stories and views as a female person through their work. Unfortunately the reality of discord coming from the system, customs and everyday life still specialize women as an issue. Thus it is evident feminist gaze is the axis penetrating through art, that overcome nation, gender and generation. A group of unbalanced signs (Heeza Bahc) and unclear borders of rattled figures (Kyungeun Han) can be deemed as formative experiments exposing feminist attitudes. Going forward, New Force of Photography
will continue to encourage the journey of photographers with experimental minds.
GoEun Musuem of Photography
Kyungeun Han graduated Department of Photographic Art of Kaywon University of Art&Design in 2009 and got Master's degree at ChungAng University Graduate School department of Photography. After that, she finished doctor's degree course at Department of Integrated Arts Therapeutics of Dongduk Women's University Graduate School. She was selected for 'The Artists of This Year' at the 5th KT&G Sangsangmadang SKOPF in 2012, and 'The Final Artist of This Year' at the 9th KT&G Sangsangmadang SKOPF in 2016. She held solo exhibition 《Plasticity of Memory》 in project space 'the room' of Total Museum of Contemporary Art and 《Return of the Body》 in KT&G Sangsangmadang Gallery. She also participated in several group exhibitions in Art Out Side Gallery in Japan, Art Sonje Center, Breda Museum in Netherland, Art of Heung-kuk on Shinmun-ro, and Hankuk Art Museum.