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About the Photographer
Korean, b. 1986 Seoul
Hyounsang Yoo questions the use of photography to represent moments and histories. In his series “Brave New World,” the namesake of Aldous Huxley’s novel about a dystopian state, South Korean artist Hyounsang Yoo mimics North Korean media. Appropriating official photographs from the North Korean Press agency KCNA, Yoo crops them into segments, reproducing the newly “censored” images as slides to be projected inside a Kodak Ektagraphic AudioViewer Projector. Controlling every step in an intentionally convoluted working process, he then re-photographs the desktop projectors in the studio against a black backdrop, transforming the original images into new forms. The press photographs Yoo manipulates are themselves Cold War era images reworked for current consumption: nuclear tests, military exercises, and the rising sun and guns that symbolize the eternal president Kim Il-sung. Using outdated technology and propaganda still in circulation half a century later, Yoo derides the obsoleteness, credibility, and tight control of North Korean media.
To create "C, LC, VM, VLM, Y, LK, LLK, PK, and MK," the artist set off a cluster of colored smoke bombs outdoors, between an empty studio backdrop against a night sky. The colors mimic ink profiles in digital photographic printers, and these colors (cyan, light cyan, vivid magenta, vivid light magenta, yellow, light black, photo black, and matte black) mirror the Epson Stylus Pro 11880 ink settings that Hyounsang used to make this print. Smoke—ephemeral in nature and fleeting in its movement—is a fitting metaphor for photographs, which are impermanent by nature and subject to inevitable fading. As the clouds dissipate into the night sky, Hyounsang reminds us of the unreliability and impermanence of images.
Hyounsang Yoo's work has been exhibited in the Bridge Art Fair, NY; EXPO Chicago; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, among others. Yoo completed his BFA and MFA from The School of the Art Institute Chicago. He was the winner of the 2014 Snider Prize.