The reality of a politically turbulent Korea, captured by a native outsider.
In 1988, when Seoul was gearing up to host the Olympic Games, Korean photographer Koo Bohnchang had just returned from a long sojourn in Germany. An outsider in his own country, Bohnchang’s senses were acutely tuned to the messier parts of Korea’s shift; he found himself unsettled by Seoul’s treacherous way of marketing itself.
In his brilliant series “Clandestine Pursuit in the Long Afternoon”, Bohnchang positions fragments—furniture abandoned on the side of a road, statues, silhouettes of strangers, a close-up of a holstered gun—into a rhythmic whole that suggests a perilous, explosive atmosphere lingering just below the surface. Each single shot possesses the power to work on its own—due to a photographic sense that seems ahead of its time—but woven together, the series unfolds its true, almost existentialist strength.
30 years after its creation, the series is finally published in a photobook by Tokyo-based Zen Foto Gallery.
Koo Bohnchang currently lives and works in Seoul, Korea. He attended Yonsei University majoring in Business Administration and later obtained his doctoral degree in photography in Hamburg, Germany. He is currently the chair professor at Kyungil University, Department of Photography and Motion Picture.
Koo’s works have been exhibited in over 40 solo exhibitions including Camera Obscura, Paris, Kukje Gallery, Seoul and Kahitsukan Kyoto Museum of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia (2010) and his works are in numerous public collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Fine art, Houston; Musée Guimet, Paris; British Museum, London; Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul.