Korean Artist Project with Korean Art Museum
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WHITE _curated by KIM Euna

Heavy Message from White

Photography is said to be an art of light. The colorful world created by light in a photograph presents a vivid image inciting viewers feel they are looking at a scene with their own eyes. If the world in the photograph, however, were presented only in white with all brightness and chroma excluded, what would we see and feel? The 'Ambivalence-Actuality' series by Ha Tae-Bum presented at this exhibition is a 2008-2012 collection of his works, which re-creates accidents or incidents around the world such as war, terrorism, disaster, and calamity into achromatic ruins. On-site images on the news provoke shock and horror in viewers; the images from Ha’s photographs, faded into absolute white with every color removed, arouse no empathy for these accidents. In the 'White' series, the artist reflects on ambivalence in photographs by rendering every object of his works in white. He collects news images from the Internet, re-constructs them as small replicas, arranges the replicas in a composition similar to that of the original news image, and then takes a picture of the objects. The objects in his photos, artificially reduced in size, remain silent with their vividness lost. His works reveal the problematic way the public understands the world today: indifference to the multiple accidents we learn about from the media every day and the reckless attitude in consuming those images. That is, the artist points out that images of accidents, which are shocking enough to have an impact on viewers, end up being just a passing scene, without arousing any response, to the people who think they are inconsequential to these events. Ha Tae-Bum also created the series, 'Playing War Games 1-2', based on real footage of shootings in troubled regions he found online, which look similar to scenes from familiar war scenario games. In doing so, the artist represented the real world where horrible and frightening scenes are consumed as virtual images through the media. Ha focuses on the fictitiousness of photographs through his works and images. Photography is a medium which represents reality in the most realistic way. But he wonders if because of the way we encounter such photographs vicariously we are filled with indifference to actual calamity. This exhibition is expected to provide an opportunity to contemplate photography and its role in the world today.


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