Three Faces Two Places One Device, Hada Contemporary, Press Release by Sun Chung, 2014.
HADA Contemporary is delighted to present a new body of work, Three Faces, Two Places, One Device (2014) by Ahn Jinkyun (b.1983). This exhibition will showcase Ahn’s playful still life photographs that further investigate and elaborate on the linear quality of the photographic process and the genealogical inheritance in a family, which provide a singular path from the point of departure to arrival; the ‘eye – lense – subject’ and the ‘father – son – grandson’. The visual and spatial materialisation of Ahn’s personal memories accumulated through the camera enhances the lively engagement of the audience through the cheerful interplay of the six elements; the three faces, two places and one device.
In The Villa of the Mysteries (2012), Ahn endeavoured to obscure the boundary of mortality by reducing or eliminating the physical distance between the empty burial plot reserved for his parents and their living room that symbolise the death and life via the use of photography. Further developing this conceptual framework, his new still life works orbit around an object that mimics the structure of a camera evoking intense childlike curiosity in contrast to his previous densely choreographed tableau photographs. As the title suggests, each works depict various reciprocal interactions of the six elements – the faces of the artist and his parents, the empty plot, the living room and the wooden toy camera. The blithe dynamics of the faces and toy cameras in conjunction with the gestural poses heighten the approachability of the images gently encouraging the audience to participate in a play or a performance that the artist and his parents are playing. Furthermore, the resemblance of the volumous and tunnel like open installational structures to the children’s wooden blocks also augments the artist’s underlying notion of the universality of the photographic images.
Departing from the premise that the photographic process inherently defies the authenticity of what one would naturally perceive through the vision, for Ahn, to take a photograph is a performative act that manifests a concept. Often initiated by inner necessities in the shape of conflicts, in his photographs the importance of the hierarchy and the structure of the power generated from the position and the direction of the artist to deliver one perspective is significant. In every click of the shutter, a camera deposits images, which in turn evidence the particular time and place of the image and of the photographer thus materialising one’s memory. Similarly, a face of a body is the representation of the accumulation of individual histories that reflects the memories of the time and places akin to a tree rings or a stratum. In Conspiracy (2014), the overlay of the living room and the empty plot on his parents’ faces embellishes on the idea of the face and camera as a place and location where memories are collected. Whereas Cord (2014) and Button (2014) suggest on the linear succession and inheritance of the histories and memories recorded in these places. The objectification of each element into the form of the camera facilitates and simplifies the visual understanding of their relationship and the artist’s effort to superimpose and amalgamate dichotomic boundaries such as death and life into each frame. Often utilising objects such as cameras and mirrors like props in a set in sync with photographic technique to manipulate, rearrange and multiply, he amplifies the tension and confusion for the viewers’ confrontation. Hovering between the boundaries of death and life, reality and fiction, private and public, reflection and gaze among others, the unique flexibility and the multiplicity of the space and time in his works allows the images to transcend the threshold of the vision to depict ‘the imageless substance that lies behind the boundaries of the vision.’
Ahn Jinkyun (b. 1983) received MA in Photography at Royal College of Art London and BFA in Photography and Film, Animation and Video at Rhode Island School of Design in the US. He has exhibited internationally at The Photographer’s Gallery, London; Phoenix Brighton, Brighton; Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam; РОСФОТО, Saint-Petersburg; Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London; Gallery IHN, Seoul; Ohio University Seigfred Gallery among others. He has been selected and awarded as 2013 UK Winner of Emerging Photographer by Flash Forward, Fresh Faced and Wild Eyed 2013 by The Photographers Gallery London, Belfast Photo Festival 2013, Foam Magazine #36 Talent, Winner of 2012 Brighton Photo Fringe Open and Honourable Mention for International Photography Awards 2011. He currently lives and works in Seoul, Korea and London, UK.