From October 6 to 27, Gallery BK Itaewon will host MWME: More than What Meets the Eye, an exhibition featuring seven Korean and international photography artists who have received significant public affection for their outstanding ingenuity and innovative approaches.
From film to digital, manual to automatic, and black-and-white to colored, photography has undergone various epochal changes and evolved significantly over the past few decades. When approached as a “representational visual medium,” photography is closely affiliated with iconology or studying visual images as the direct rendition of objects. But more recently, photography has moved beyond being a system of icons and took the role of an independent “language” that translates the artist’s thoughts through the camera’s lens, providing unique eyesight for seeing the world and a new range of semiotic significance. As a result, works of photography have become the grounds for contemplative and profound experiences. Also, photography’s gaze has provided a new aesthetic perspective that allows us to move closer to the core concept of aesthetics — the pursuit of beauty invisible to the eyes.
Photography is a semiotic practice in that it captures the mark (or a series of marks) left in a specific place and time by an object or incident, but simultaneously, it is a genre that reflects the photographer’s decision-making, choices, point-of-view, and intent and scrutinizes every step involved in sensation, perception, and cognition. The seven artists in this show use the powerful tool to investigate human nature, weigh the value of existence, examine the components and meanings inherent to a complex structure, and discuss theories and principles, building unique photographic practices to continue their infinite debate.
The American philosopher and linguist Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914) proclaimed in his semiotics theory, “Man is a sign, his thoughts are signs, and his feelings are signs.” From his view, human actions and their results — attitude, gesture, customs, and practices — were, in fact, signs that were identifiable through a range of semiotic systems. In Pierce’s theory, the photographer is someone who combines various signs, such as self-identity, feelings, and the desire to express, with external phenomena such as the camera lens, objects, and light to produce a work of photo. Furthermore, it must also be noted that a photographic work is another sign in itself and functions as the gateway that prompts an individual’s cognition and the barometer for the efficiency of delivering an aesthetic message.
In this exhibition, Gallery BK will present how the seven artists see the world through their cameras’ lenses and examine their perspective and interpretation, the meanings and values they attempt to deliver through their unique images, and the magic of light they mastered through hard practice. The meditative experience of observing their works will guide viewers to the realm of photographic achievement, where physical phenomena and chemical adjustments lie in perfect balance. Also, by engaging the unexplored contemplative realm within each work, viewers will experience moments of complete imagery in their inner realms.
Min Choi, Director, Gallery BK
Venus Etcetera (after Titian) (Ed. 2/15)Screenprint in colors with silver ink 109 × 150 cm, 2021