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Artist statement for project "Who are you?" by Youngho Kang

In 2011 I had a chance to make documentary photos for the first female president of South Korea, Geun-Hye Park during her campaign for election. I mainly photographed from her backside, I wanted to know her viewpoint and show her reflection in the public’s expressions. I thought of the public as her mirror. She succeeded in becoming the president.

Unfortunately she was impeached by the public in early 2017. From 2016 the public had realized themselves not to be her mirror anymore. She had mainly looked for a pursued personal relationship. Many people were disappointed with her. I could not help but want to ask “is our sophisticated judgement about the choice of president reasonable?”. I thought we may choose with wrong or otherwise trumped-up information/belief. Thus, I would rather suggest an intuitive and subjective sensation rather than objective information; that is the impression of the “Face”. I believe that in our age of deluged information, our intuition about someone’s portrait can be more correct.

I have worked with the representative politicians in South Korea for six months in a project titled “Who are you?”, a project which started with (then) President, Geun-Hye Park. I interviewed them and captured their special photographs. I am not a politically inclined person, as an artist I want to take photos that focus on humanism, without any political prejudice. The main way of taking pictures is with the politicians wearing a black turtleneck. I recommend the black turtleneck in order to help the audience focus on the subject’s face. All the subjects in my project are potential candidates for the being the next president. We call them “Submerged Dragons” (a dragon that has yet to start flying), in South Korea.

Now, I have published my project in daily newspapers before the election. 

The photos in this project are taken between February 2016 and March 2017, in Seoul, South Korea.

Won-Soon Park

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