I recently discovered the work of Korean artist Yeondoo Jung (정 연 두), and I love it. (Thanks for the tip, N!)
A lot of Jung’s work is concerned with dramatizing the inner worlds/memories of average people and then capturing them using photography and film. I’m not really up to speed on the Korean art scene, but he’s apparently one of the most prominent Korean artists working right now: he received the 2007 Artist of the Year Award, given annually by the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul.
I enjoyed browsing through the samples of his work on his web site: I would recommend it. Here are some of my favorite pieces.
For the 2005 series Wonderland Jung uses photography to capture the imaginings of kindergartners.
The series presents costumed adolescents posing in sets based as closely as possible on children’s drawings. He collaborates with many people to bring to life the boundless imagination in the drawings. For four months, Jung oversaw art classes in four kindergartens in Seoul and collected 1,200 drawings by children between the ages of five and seven. After pouring through them, he carefully selected 17 drawings and interpreted their meanings. Then he recruited 60 high school students by passing out handbills at their schools in which he invited them to act out the scenarios in the children’s drawings. In order to recreate faithfully drawing details such as dresses with uneven sleeves or buttons of different sizes, he convinced five fashion designers to custom make the clothing for the photo shoot. He also made props unlike any scale found in reality but similar to those in the drawings.
See more pieces from Wonderland here.
In his 2001 series Bewitched Jung used photography to capture the fantastical dreams of average people. The subjects are photographed once in their everyday environments and then photographed again placed within their fantasies.
See more of Bewitched here.
One of Jung’s more recent projects is 2009’s Handmade Memories which is comprised of six videos Jung made to investigate “the tenuous authenticity of mechanically-produced images.”
From the press release: For this project, Jung has interviewed six elderly strangers who he randomly encountered in parks around Seoul. His opening line – ‘What is the most memorable experience of your life?’ – successfully taps into the pathos of an aging generation that lived through the Japanese occupation of Korea (1910 – 1945) and the Korean War (1950 – 1953). For large segments of this demographic basic necessities such as food and shelter were in short supply as was adequate education. Jung’s interviews teeter precipitously between truth and fiction: some reveal obvious fabrication and embellishment while others border on confessionals, revealing a tension that speaks poignantly to the psychological damage levied on the country’s collective psyche and the fantasies that were invented by so many as a coping mechanism. The interviewees’ dreams – which for the most part have gone unfulfilled – are quick to surface and are laid bare before Jung’s lens.
I’ve loved the images from the films that I’ve seen online. Check them out here.
For more information see Jung’s website and the Tina Kim Gallery (which represents him).