Girls In Uniform - A Night at the Opera

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Girls In Uniform - A Night at the Opera

Hyun-jin Kwak

From November 02, 2017 until December 17, 2017

Opening: Thursday November 2nd at 4-6 PM

At Galleri Image - Get directions Vestergade 29, 8000 Aarhus, Danmark

Girls In Uniform - A Night at the Opera

Nature and culture, East and West, subjects and objects meet in Hyun-Jin Kwak's art. In her art works, she lets the potent symbols and myths from her Korean home and childhood reflect and confront the imagery of adult life and the Western world. Girls In Uniform, an ongoing series of photography and sculpture since 2003, originated as a form of self-analysis, where Kwak looked at her background from her new vantage point of woman and artist. The large-scale, staged photographs that constitute the series feature uniformed schoolgirls inhabiting urban and natural landscapes. Barren industrial sites mingle with rivers, waterfalls, cliffs, and dense, almost impenetrable greenery setting the stage for tense and slightly threatening teenage episodes, frozen in time.

In one part of the series, Kwak makes references to classic, oriental ink paintings where she especially focuses on landscapes, portraits of immortal spirits, beauty, and women. In this tradition, men are typically depicted as active subjects involved in sophisticated activities such as art, poetry, and meditation. In contradiction, women are portrayed as passive to a point where they almost become part of the landscape. Here – as in the rest of Kwak’s work – the neglected or powerless object is rather an active and empowered subject, involved in games or rituals of uncertain direction and meaning.

The exhibition at Galleri Image consists of a selection of works from 2006 to 2017. The latest are a result of Kwak’s residency within the FRESH EYES project in Aarhus. This includes three large works which are on display on a public building next to the gallery. Altogether, the selection shows how Girls In Uniform has developed into studies of settings where historical and architectural aspects carry increasing importance. The method of staging models in different environments, thus suggesting different narratives, has for the artist become a reflective tool to look at and investigate places. Or as she states: “The uniformed girl somehow came to represent my own foreign perspective and placement and displacement in different geographies and localities of the West.”

Hyun-Jin Kwak (b. 1974 in South Korea) lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. She works primarily with staged photography and thematic approaches to geographical sites. Kwak’s works have been shown both in group and solo exhibitions at several major European exhibition spaces such as Hasselblad Center, Art Pavilion Zagreb, Technopolis Athens, Kulturhuset Stockholm, and Platform Seoul. Kwak has been nominated for several European photography awards including Prix Pictet and Prix Virginia. In 2005, Kwak was awarded the Hasselblad Foundation Victor Fellowship.
The exhibition opens Thursday November 2nd at 4 pm to 6 pm and is on display until December 17th. Tuesday-Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm.

Read more about Hyun-Jin Kwak here:

The exhibition is supported by The Danish Arts Foundation & Frimodt-Heineke Fonden

Photography: Hyun-jin Kwak: Study of Landscape and Beauty no 1
2017-11-02 13:26:00
2017-12-17 15:26:00