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The 11th Daum Prize Artist Exhibition – Chung Heeseung / Inadequate Metaphors

Period : 2013. 7. 6 – 8. 18
Place : Artsonje Center

The Daum Prize is a project to support young Korean artists working with the photographic media. Since 2002, the Parkgeonhi Foundation has selected artists through an annual competition held each May. It is one of the most representative creative art program in Korea, thus one could grasp the trends of Korean contemporary photography merely by viewing the portfolios submitted by applicants for the past 11 years. Each year, the winner receives a stipend to produce work for one year, and presents the results in an exhibition and a book of the works the following year. From 2012, the stipend for artists was increased to KRW 55 million, and solo shows were held in the Artsonje Center, thereby broadening the actual scope of support, and making the program the most preferred gateway for Korean young artists to enter the professional photography scene.

Artist Heeseung Chung submitted the Reading and Still Life series to win the 11th Daum Prize. The artist says she has been interested in things that are not easily revealed on the surface of objects, latent situations, and beings hidden in the background. Such perspective enabled the artist to bring out contemplation on the photographic surface and what is not visualized in one’s eyes in the series Reading (2009-2010), which consists of photographs taken of actors reading scripts, and Still Life (2009-2012), which are photographs of objects used in everyday life.

The 11th Daum Prize Artist Exhibition, Inadequate Metaphors (2013), was an attempt in which Chung approached the inner qualities of photography and the subjects in the context of her previous work. It consisted of photographs objects and piles of printed material. The work, which visually crosses the artist’s studio, spaces of a botanical garden and other subjects, like her previous works, is based on a very direct photographic attitude, but at the same time such simplicity produces extreme complexity.

The act of seeing is a clear and direct sense. Everything that is seen exists, and humans’ primary way of understanding the subject is to collect information through visual sense. Therefore, we believe that the photograph, known as an extension of vision, is a cold and direct communication method, however, the images estranged in time and space in reality position themselves on the other side of our beliefs. This is where Chung’s works stand. When we face her works, the subjects are revealed in a truly photographic method, and do not indicate or impose anything upon us. The subject of communication becomes not the image but us, and we look, feel and imagine based on our personal experiences. In this game of hide-and-seek where a correct answer does not exist, there is a single point of protrusion—a destroyed aspect of uprightness. Through this, the subjects presented in a direction different from our expectations stir up the will for interpretation and communication and at the same time present another question to the notion of what photography should be.

Chung’s work, which uses photographic media charged with the myth of direct indication, is an irony in that it actually cannot or does not indicate anything. And this is linked both to the subject in the photograph and the perceptual act of “seeing,” thereby awakening the subtle charm of visual art that cannot be explained through text.

Inadequate Metaphors [Works]

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