And then there is Korea.
The first thing to do is to learn how to drink SOJU, something liquid with a lot of alcohol, with the taste of rice you can find Soju in every freezer of a 7/11.
Beer and Soju always accompany any food, basically you hang out, go out and constantly eat BBQ (pork you cut with a scissors) ’til the moment you’re washed up at a private Karaoke room and sing your lungs out loudly in something that sounds like Korean. It’s quite a new and exotic experience to be in Korea. When you first walk around in Seoul you feel the north-south political tension. You get to know that 30.000 US soldiers are based in South Korea.
You’ll figure Japan and Korea have a complex history of cultural exchange, trade and war, which still underlys their relations today. The Japanese come to shop in Korea,surrounded by consumerism it seems like the streets have turned into a never ending shopping mall. Printed posters are no longer present, just LCD screens with over-saturated images moving and jumping from one screen to the other.
You’ll see adds in public spaces for plastic surgery. There’s no age limit for this in Korea! Some parents decide to do it with their young kids or even babies, but face comes out a bit weird, once it’s growing afterwards.
In Korea it is possible to to get a facial transformation for your 16th birthday in order to become more successful. Smell of seaweed. Everybody seems to be working out in the public outdoor gyms whenever the opportunity arises.
Schoolgirls and boys making V(ictory)-signs and smiling in front of their Samsung phones, not wanting to win or liking victory I guess? It seems to be like some kind of Asian habit to protect yourself from shyness, giving yourself a clear tool for uncomfortable posing in front of a camera. Business men collapsed lying on the ground in the streets after drinking too much after work. In Korea it’s drinking ’til the boss decides to stop, wether you like it or not.
I had dreamed of a little more discovery and exploration of Korea before installing my work at the Daegu Photo Biennale. But the typhoon Samba hit the famous Korean honeymoon island: called Jeju, where I travelled to, resulting in a giant spanner in the works. My exotic holiday dramatically turned from one day of beautiful weather, and watching newly weds in unisex clothing posing in front of waterfalls…
…And then BAM! There’s the Magic of photography show in Deagu, a city in the east of South Korea. Charlotte Cotton was the main curator of the Biennale, with this year’s title ‘Photographic’. Charlotte invited a number of other curators from Europe, USA and Korea and in total there were 8 exhibitions to be seen in two big locations: Deagu Art Factory and Daegu Culture & Arts Center.
Around 40 of the foreign artists, where held in the biggest fanciest hotel Daegu has to offer. Most of the Euro-Ameri-Maniacs had never experienced such an opening as this one. All inclusive: fake flight attendants at the entrance.
A flower statue to misuse as a set for every memory-pic, several dance and musical performances, tons of speeches, Q&A’s – ending or beginning with a gigantic rooftop restaurant to eat, drink and chill looking over the whole city ,whilst watching the sun set …feeling more than satisfied.
And here it is!
Some of the highlights of this Asian Biennale and some of the installation fun (which is totally fake of course) because for most of the artists and curators it wasn’t fun at all. It was a %^^#@%$* of a job to get the exhibition installed in time, especially for Charlotte Cotton and the suburb organization team, amongst them: Jeong Kil Kim and Yoom Sun Ji.
Quite a brave and eccentric choice of Charlotte Cotton to combine the work of Charlotte Dumas and Sebastiaan Bremer.
Everyone, who I asked ‘why’ answered a very strange response in terms of installing a groupshow: “they know each other so it’s ok” their photographs were combined I thought…ok. I guess on this photo you see Charlotte explaining this choice to Jung-im Seo, who’s the senior editor of the monthly visual art magazine Kyunghyang/ ‘Article’. For us this will stay magic somehow.
Mr Daily Nice busy preparing the most joyful installation of this show called ‘Pictures For Looking At/ Sculptures For Photography’.
Jason Evans is one of the 4 nominees of the Grange Photoprize: check it out HERE (also Annie MacDonell is one of the 4 nominees and her work was also exhibited in Daegu).
The best installation of the Biennale is from Carter Mull. At first glance there is a room full of black & white photos (1800 unique ones) with images of hands and phones printed on aluminium. Already a beautiful spatial and physical experience, but once you figure a photo is each a still frame from the iphone 4S promo video, more and more comes to the surface. In the catalogue Mull’s work ‘Connection‘ is described as the following: “Mull’s installation both forces to regard a plethora of contemporary imagery and it’s impact upon our consciousness while disregarding it as we walk upon its physical detritus.”
Rinko Kawauchi walking on Carter’s installation towards her own installation: video and photos combined.
Taisuke Koyama, this is Taisuke’s work and Taisuke almost like a father not posing in front of his work.
Installation of Lotta Andersson.
Some listed artists from the show which are really worth looking into:
So that’s the main exhibition covered….and then there’s the other 7, however i will only show images from 2 of these shows here as my idea is not to deliver you any kind of RSI.
Some work of Nathalie Herschdorfer’s exhibition.
David Favrod walking with his photos towards the Daegu Art Factory with the photo of Denis Darzacq on it, when entering the exhibition you’ll start with the video of Anoush Abrar, watch it video here.
The Daily Exhaustion and work by Vivianne Sassen.
The other group exhibition is Repositioned Personal by Karen Irvine:
Installation by Paulien Otlheten, curator Karen Irvine telling about the works of Hanna Lucy Jones and Guillaume Simoneau (on the back of her) and on the right the video installation of Sara Blokland.
Penelope Umbrico, Sunset Portraits, 2011 one of the most labor-intensive works of the Daegu Photo Biennale, time to celebrate.