Aan Jin-gyun: Permanent Vacation

Aan Jin-gyun: Permanent Vacation

Aug 31 - Sep 18, 2022

684, Tongil-ro, Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul, 03371, Rep. of KOREA


Tue-Sun 11am - 7pm

Our memory is an edited past. In order to protect the present consciousness, the unconsciousness selectively excludes negative memories. Family albums demonstrate this tendency clearly since people only allow photographs depicting happy moments to be included in them. However, we cannot deny that the disqualified past also resides deep inside and forms the invisible foundation of our mind. The project Permanent Vacation examines the invisible unconsciousness by concealing parts of a photograph when the original function of the medium is to visually represent what is seen. In Permanent Vacation, Ahn focuses on two recurring elements in family albums: ‘smile’ and ‘stand up straight’. In Permanent Smiles(2022), the stereotypical smiles prevalent in family albums are isolated by covering soil, horizontally from the left to the right edge of the original photographs, vertically right above and below the smiling lips, consequently creating images in the shape of a long narrow window. Anonymous smiles are separated from their original context and start to seem vacuous as the original intentions and purposes of the occasion represented in the photographic image are unknown. The sense of helplessness of isolated smiles within enlarged photographic prints is amplified by the quietude of the exhibition space. In Permanent Legs(2022), ‘stand up straight’ family photographs are mounted on aluminum plates and carefully inserted into finely cut wooden bars. Presented upside down so that the starting point of the legs follow the line of the horizon, thereby creating an optical illusion that makes it appear as if the legs are cut off inversely. The function of family album lies in extending the life of the past by sustaining visual memories. Ahn’s photographic amputation ultimately creates ‘dead photographs’ by ending the life of the past. The family photographs are deprived of their original purpose, that is the longevity of memories, when their context is interrupted. Eventually the photographs are allowed to leave for ‘Permanent Vacation’. (SeMA)