Minseung Jang, ‘A Peony’, 2017, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea

Minseung JANG began this work by searching photographs of old Seoul during the early 20th century from Jeongdong to areas within the four main gates of the city, which were usually taken by foreign diplomats or missionaries and Japanese photographers hired by the Japanese Government-General of Korea. Jang focused on the fact that these remaining photographs were taken by the hands of foreigners 100 years ago, when camera was rare to find, and he reframes the images of the Korean Empire, Gyeongseong and Seoul captured through their lens.
For this procedure, Jang collected various photographs of the modern era from the Chul HWANG (modern Korean photographer, 1864-1930) photographic collection housed in MMCA and collections from other institutions2. Then he photographed these images in ultra high definition, croped out or magnified particular parts of the image to display contrary angle in comparison to the original image. The public seen through the eyes of the World Powers appear dark and depressed, but in the photographs reproduced by Jang, we could discover various expressions and lives of the people taken on the streets. As the positive films of the slide projector slowly or speedily rolls, we come to imagine the current streets during this era and this is further revived into the contemporary sensibilities of 2017.
BangEan YANG interprets the passage of time inscribed in the reproduced images of Jang, into sounds. He takes various visual elements such as the background, air and historical significance of the time condensed in the photograph and transforms them into auditory elements. The harmony of cello gliding from one note to another and the echo of percussion represent the passage of time while the often heard sound of waves and floating machine sound represent the debris of things lost in the vortex of history. Thus, the pair present a complete work, which sensitively carresses both visual and auditory senses.

About Minseung Jang