Jung Yeondoo, ‘Prism Effect’, 2017, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea

Prism Effect is a work that presents the possibility of multiple interpretations on a single historical event, like when light is refracted into many colors through the prism. Jung reveals contrasting versions of interpretations on the late Korean Empire through the portraits of Emperor Gojong standing on the 2nd floor terrace of Seokjojeon and the 4 photographs of Princess Deokhye.
According to the geographical location of Seokjojeon in cardinal points, the British, American and Russian diplomatic missions were in the north, Jungmyeongjeon Hall, where the Protectorate Treaty between Korea and Japan was signed in 1905, was in the West and Pyeongliwon, the first Korean court of justice stood in the South. Then towards the East, there stood Junmyeongdang, used as a kindergarten for Princess Deokhye once. The 4 photographs are four different perspectives on Emperor Gojong and Princess Deokhye: perspective of the others, invaders, public perspective and personal perspective.
The portrait photographs of the past reveals great historical evidence as a record, and Emperor Gojong also intended to proliferate the authority of his empire through his own photographs. Yeondoo JUNG aimed to uncover diverse angles and sides of men through Emperor Gojong, his humane contemplation and affection as a father, hidden behind his role of leading and fighting to protect the fragile country from the invasions. For this work, Jung received consultation from the traditional costume specialist to produce ordinary costumes of the imperial family and dressed them on models to take photographs of the two figures, in reference to the photographic records of the past.

About Jung Yeondoo