Oh Suk Kuhn & the Korean Psyche

Oh Suk Kuhn

I first met Suk Kuhn or Shot Gun-O as he was introduced to me at university. His early work documented close up, detailed shots of people’s faces captured just after the moment when he asked them to think of the saddest memory they could think of in their life. These simple portraits caught the raw nature of feelings, which often exposed a seemingly ‘pure’ consciousness in an unconscious way if that can possibly make sense.

“Art always has to concern us about ourselves. The face, identity and representation are my main interest. Through this, I want to find hidden meaning in our unconsciousness which make people realise alternative views of the world”

Suk Kuhn in his quiet charm is an interesting guy who has led an interesting life. He first started out as a photographer in the Korean Army and then later went on to be employed photographing prostitutes in Japan. These two seemingly polar subjects in the category of ‘order’ and ‘chaos’ could be said to be the roots of Suk Kuhn’s most recent work; ’The text book’

In his latest series of photographs Suk Kuhn has collaborated with the memoir of people’s childhoods. Using the characters of Chul Soo & Young Hee who are the run of the mill stereotypical characters depicted in the average Korean school textbook.

Oh Suk Kuhn

Oh Suk Kuhn

Each photograph is the staged memory of someone’s strongest thought of his or her childhood. Many of these thoughts bring out the traumatic or sexually aware side of childhood. These memories the kind that stay with us of life and often unwitting recur in our day-to-day lives causing us to react and act in a certain way. This ‘cause’ and ‘effect’ is the theoretical nature for Suk Kuhn’s work. The images serve as the foreground of individual behavior; through experience played out from the backdrop of the bigger picture. That bigger picture being the ever-present, presence of national life that runs blood deep in the collective individual that is the Republic of Korea (South Korea). If you are to visit South Korea and read up on its history you will find a country that has had many growing pains thought-out its own childhood.

Intriguing imagery, theoretical intelligence and a slick body of work, which has great depths is what Suk Kuhn is developing as he emerges as one of the most fascinating fine art photographers to date.

For more info and to view more images of Suk Kuhn’s work go to http://www.ohsukkuhn.com

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