KOREAN CONTEMPORARY ARTIST PHOTOGRAPHY SWISS ART PRIZE
Work by Korean contemporary photographer Yeondoo Jung is on show as part of a travelling exhibition for “Growth 2011″, the third theme for the Prix Pictet, the world’s leading prize for photography and sustainability. Jung’s Evergreen Tower deals with the paradox of urban growth.
Nuclear families in mass-produced houses
Evergreen Tower is an apartment block in Gwangin-gu Gwangjang-dong, Seoul, South Korea. Yeondoo Jung visited 32 homes and shot portraits of the occupant family in the living room of each. As pointed out by the artist, modern Seoul is drawing in all kinds of people from across the country, and mass production of standardised apartment blocks provide shelter for these nuclear families.
The architectural structure of the living rooms is identical; only the families and the interior decorations they choose set them apart from one another. As Jung says in his artist statement for the work, this “series of photographs, which share uncanny similarities due to the architectural structure of the building” emphasises “the individual and visible differences between the lives of each of the families”. His “intention is to contrast the individual lives of the nuclear families with the mass-produced houses of Seoul city”.
[Writer’s note: Evergreen Tower is one large piece consisting of several images. When the images are viewed individually they should be considered as detail views of the work as a whole.]
About Yeondoo Jung
Yeondoo Jung was born in 1969 in Jinju, South Korea. He studied in Seoul and the UK, and graduated from Goldsmith College of University of London with a MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree in 1997. In 2007, he was awarded the prestigious Artist of the Year award from the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul.
In addition to the many solo exhibitions that Jung has had in Europe, Asia and the US, his work has appeared in various group exhibitions and biennials worldwide, including the Venice Biennale (2005) and the Liverpool Biennial (2008), and can be found in important collections such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, the Essl Museum of Contemporary Art in Vienna and the RISD Museum in Rhode Island.
Jung’s work includes photography, installation, videos and performance. He established his signature strategy of using a sound stage and homemade sets to frame a fictional narrative in Documentary Nostalgia. The same technique was employed in his next video work Handmade Memories in which the artist continues his “ongoing investigation into the subjective instability of memories as well as the tenuous authenticity of mechanically-produced images”.
Fascinated and inspired by Georges Méliès, Yeondoo Jung created his first live performance in 2009, called Cinemagician, and to date the performance has been presented in South Korea, Japan, New York and Paris. In Cinemagician, a magician performs live in front of an audience while a film crew records and transmits the live performance onto the screen with post-production effects.
The Prix Pictet
The Prix Pictet, launched in 2008, is a leading art award focused on photography and sustainability, which aims at finding photographic works that communicate pivotal messages about environmental significance. So far, the Prix Pictet has successfully launched four cycles of the prize, one in each year since 2008. Each cycle of the Prix Pictet takes about two years and each focuses a predetermined theme. The starting theme was Water, followed by Earth and the current theme, Growth, and Power will finish the set of cycles.
Nominations for the prize are selected by a group of directors, curators, journalists, critics and other leading visual arts experts. An independent jury led by Professor Sir David King then shortlists several artists. A winner is chosen from the shortlist and is awarded the CHF100,000 grand prize. In addition, a second shortlisted artist is chosen to receive the Commission, whereby he or she undertakes a field trip to a region where the partners of Pictet & Cie support a sustainability project.
The third theme of the third cycle of the Prix Pictet, Growth, was launched on 8 July 2010 and the exhibition of works by the shortlisted artists started on 17 March 2011. The exhibition has so far toured Paris, Thessaloniki, Zurich, Milan, Dusseldorf, Madrid, Washington, Dublin, Beirut and Eindhoven. Future international venues include Groningen, at the Noorderlicht Photogallery, Holland, from 13 April to 20 May 2012, and Hong Kong, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, in May 2012. Books featuring the shortlisted artists for Growth and the third Commission Ushirikiano have been published, and can be ordered from the prize’s publishing partner teNeues.
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