Byung-Hun Min — River & Portraits series



Byung-Hun Min
River & Portraits series

Past: November 13, 2014 → January 4, 2015

The question mark is made up of a dot and a curvy line that seems to represent a vortex. If the dot were me, the vortex would be all that surrounds me. Indeed it is a crazy world that turns, and the dot — or I — is tiny and insignificant. Yet without the dot, the vortex that seems so gigantic and important loses meaning. I am therefore the world is. And it is I who searches for the world. Hence the root of the word question, or « quaestio », means to search. If we add a little imagination to this question mark, we can think of it as a magic wand that has been driven to the Earth. What better metaphor to the fact that the entire planet Earth is full of questions unanswered.

Byung-Hun Min is known for his straight photography and for the use of gray. The two adjectives, straight and gray, suggest that his works are direct and yet somewhat neutralized. Min’s Works, however, are not something he captured in immediate contact with the subject nor is it in anyway neutralized. His photographs are the answers to the long held question. They are intense yet calm much like Nature that stays as it always has through all that passes.

The Earth has survived almost an eternity as a planet of Nature and light. The development of civilizations, has led to technological advances, however, allowing human beings to shatter the myth. Surrounding light and Nature, and actually give birth to a new planet Earth of reproduced images. Min uses this technology to capture Nature and Light, and has used the camera to bring into reality that which can be seen but not recalled. By employing the conventional process of photography accompanied by meticulous craftsmanship, he presents a ne landscape and aura, bringing out the natural scenery of diverse colors and forms that encourage the viewer to take a moment of reflection on our civilization that relies so much on machines.

Min’s approach to Nature is not to capture it as it meets the eye but to grasp it as a profound metaphor. He endeavors to understand light with his heart rather than his reason. His subjects, such as grass, weeds, snow, trees, flowers and waterfalls are motifs for poetic photography that symbolizes the creative power of Nature. His photographs seem independent of each other, yet they together make a grand picture, much as the churches that serve individually as religious icons collectively form the one Catholic Church. His works thus present a collective exposition of the laws of Universe and Nature, and a pantheistic description of their eternity.

From an aesthetical standpoint, his works are all about formal beauty, especially of Nature without artificiality. The subjects in his works strike a harmonious balance and proportions just as Polycleitos’ sculptures exemplify the canon. Min’s eyes bring out quite clearly and succintly the healthy beauty that is formed by natural lines, but do not stop there and delve into the delicate emotions hidden inside those lines. In this he relies on the softness of natural light to lure the subject’s form into visibility but in a tender and secret way to enjoin the visible with what it holds inside. This makes his pieces exist as an emotional illusion…

As Sun’s gravitational force attracts the Earth, Min has pulled Nature’s scenes and light into his work. In achieving this parallel Min metaphorically implies that all phenomena, including what he perceives of Nature, cannot be reduced to a simple causality. This complexity of the relationships found in Nature can also be compared to the complexities of the society in which we live. All these implications are intensely packed into each of his works…

The photography of Byung-Hun Min is a documentation of our innate search for the essence, the cause, the truth. In the weeds and grass, seemingly the most vulnerable and insignificant elements of Nature, Min has found the truth we all have been looking for. He has found the principle of creation and extinction. He has discovered the force of life and circulation in the falling waters.

Kang Moo-Sung