Korea Week: Keum, Hyewon
This week Guest Editor and photographer Hye-Ryoung Min shares the work of Korean photographers.
Korean artist Hyewon Keum lives and works in Seoul Korea. Keum received a BFA in Korean Painting from Ewha Woman’s university in 2003, and a MFA from the graduate school of Ewha Woman’s University in 2005. Keum had her first solo exhibition On The Blue Territory in 2008, which dealt with the issue of redevelopment in Korea. In 2009, with support of SongEun Art Foundation and Seoul Foundation Arts and Culture, she presented the Speeding Light series in her solo exhibition with the same title. In 2011, Keum was invited to Ilmin Museum of Art to present the Urban Depth project. Focusing on the irony of urban life revealed through environment change, her works has been shown in numerous group exhibitions. In 2013, Keum received 12th Daum prize run by Parkgeonhi Foundation of Culture in Korea.
Within the spectacle generated by the physical change that comes from the urban redevelopment of the city of Seoul, I focused on a landscape created by blue tarpaulin. To me, the scene of blue tarpaulin, which is originally used to prevent flooding after demolishing buildings, covering enormous ruins came as a landscape that seemingly concealed and hid the negative side of redevelopment. It might be that the covering with blue tarpaulin is symbolic of creating a space with a completely different context, as if it is a magic show whereby a shabby residential district transforms into a luxurious apartment complex. With an unreal atmosphere to some degree, these photos express a destructive point on which familiar everyday places are forced to turn into an unfamiliar place.
The Urban Depth series features a waste disposal site located in the deep underground of Seoul. A tremendous amount of waste discharged everyday is classified here, and up-to-date facilities are used to treat foul smelling gas produced in the processes of condensing and removing waste. This vast underground space restlessly engulfs and digests urban impurities while we are unaware of this fact. Although this is an important space present in the center of Seoul, its presence is belied and camouflaged through a park at ground level, without any information or sign indicating its presence. This is why this site reflects the attributes of a city where lots of complex interests clash. I visualize the depth of a city covered by its surface, undergoing spaces whose presence is evaded or concealed, but yet exist.
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