The aim of my current and future photographic project is about making photography like classical music.
Even though the sentence may seem highly vague or even ‘cheesy’, but what I exactly mean by making photography like classical music is having the quality of universality. The quality that can have influence on anyone.
During my studies at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, I was once very saddened by the fact that I could not truly engage in the artworks that are made by my colleagues. I could not engage in what they call ‘black art’ because the works are made by black groups and are consumed for their own ethnic group. There was no space for me to engage in that art as a Korean foreigner. I also experienced similar situation with arts about radical feminism from Michaelis. Even though I am on the side of feminists, those arts were mainly dedicated to women as in praise of fellow women audiences or to male audiences in order to mock their gaze upon female body.
For me, there is no ethnic or sexual group that I could ask for a support. And it is also true that I have been very pensive about what kind of art should I create, and how I should function as an ‘alien’ artist living and working in South Africa, the country of constant conflict.
During my recent trip in Europe, I saw a glimpse of a solution to make art that I can create and show in Cape Town.
Classical music is powerful because as a conductor Benjamin Zander said, it is for everyone. I am always surprised by the fact that audiences feel strong emotions from the sheet music that were written few hundred years old. Unlike most of the arts from contemporary era, classical artworks are actually simple but strongly emotional and yet so subtly complicated. And classical music does not have politics or sides.
My aim when my making my photographs are very similar to such style. When I was in Europe for travel, the works that moved me were the paintings by Rothko, Kandinsky, Monet and Hockney. They often depict existing scenery with people, or also paintings that are completely abstract. These master painters of Modern era has adhered to their own emotions when making their works.
I was astounded by the fact that I was deeply impressed by the works that can be argued as selfish: The painting of a boyfriend, abstract paintings spurred by own personal emotion and also impressionistic depiction of a pond. And yet these paintings have deeply moved me and stirred up emotions and I can even say I felt an urge to live on my life. I realised that exposing true self can move and influence people deeply. Although my objective is very abstract, my aim is to produce photographic works that provide life to a viewer. A photograph that is immortal. In order to achieve that aim, I will make art that is honest, which penetrates straight into one emotions, in a way that can influence people in a good way.