Altered Landscape - Revisit

Joo Hwang

Joo Hwang, Altered Landscape - Revisit, 2006/2024. Single channel video, color, sound. 4 min. Photography: Joo Hwang, Video Editing: Junhwa Jung. Supported by the 13th Seoul Mediacity pre-Biennale. Courtesy of the artist

The English word “alter” means “to modify.” I asked a dry cleaner to tailor the clothes of people of different sizes to fit my body and thought about this word, which I used while living as an Asian immigrant in New York, as a term that encapsulates the modernization reflected in Korea's changing landscape over a long period of time. When I returned to Korea after two decades, I found Seoul to be more spacious and livelier than I remembered. Nevertheless, it also manifested a somewhat awkward and foreign ambience, as seen in the riverside redevelopment of the Hangang Renaissance, the Platanus tree next to the Jamsil Stadium that appeared to be severed from its base and skyscrapers that were erected next to Yangjaecheon stream, which had previously been densely forested. (Courtesy of the artist)

Joo Hwang (b. 1964, Seoul)

Joo Hwang’s portrait and landscape photographs adopt a sophisticated aesthetic while exploring identity issues including gender and diaspora. Her major projects include East Village (1995-1996), which examines the alienated identity of a female Asian immigrant in New York, Temporary Warehouse (2011), which records the displacement of the city's artificial nature and buildings, and Her Portrait (2016), which studies on the female figure using image manipulation and photography techniques commonly used in cosmetics advertisements. Joo’s works capture unfamiliar images of familiar beings as metaphorical reflections that expand discussions about the social, cultural, and political backgrounds and conditions to which they belong and reveal the complex backgrounds that constitute contemporary identity. She participated in SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul 2016 NERIRI KIRURU HARARA.

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