Kyungwoo Chun (*1969) is known for his special photographic projects in which he portrays individuals with long exposure times, creating a characteristic blur. The temporality of the shot harks back to the early days of analogue photography, when very long exposure times - as in the titular " One-Hour Portrait" - were necessary before more light-sensitive processes and a more sophisticated technique were developed.
At the same time, the long exposure allows the subjects to experience the shooting process itself. Every slightest movement, every twitch within the face and every blink of the eyelashes leads to blurring of the shot. The passing of time becomes all the more tangible in the attempt to face the camera as motionlessly as possible.
By shooting for often very long periods of time, the artist tries to get closer to the portrayed in a special way, and it is precisely in the aesthetics of the blurred traces left by the movements of the photographed that their rapture or even aloofness is revealed. Parameters of portraiture per se are explored and in the process a very unique pictorial language of photography is developed, which also draws in a temporal distancing in its reception, as it builds bridges to the beginnings of photography. Kyungwoo Chun now turns this apparent shortcoming into a conceptual strength that consciously defies the logic of the fastest, pin-sharp photographic image in order to make temporality visible and tangible.
Kyungwoo Chun uses long exposure times, different photographic shooting techniques and development processes to enhance the special presence and effect of his photographs to invite close observation. It is no coincidence that one of his work series is called "Light Calligraphy" and poetically describes his photographs as a calligraphy with light, which in turn associates the old designation of the photographic process as "painting with light". Temporality and individual as well as collective memories thematically underlie Kyungwoo Chun's works and shape his artistic practice.
Processes of collective, performative action or long-term photographic imaging sensitise for an increased perception of time. Aspects of individual positioning in time and space, as well as parameters of the medium of photography, are placed in a discursive dialogue by Kyungwoo Chun. Thus, Kyungwoo Chun's individual work series are characterised by his particular approach to the subjective perception of time. By repeatedly assembling temporary groups of portraits, social relationships, family ties or even strangeness co-determine the behaviour in front of the camera, which he captures in his special long exposures as a trace of bodies in space and time.
Chun's artistic work is characterised by a particular processuality. The creation of his photographic portraits contains performative elements, which are not least reflected in the unusually long exposure times. Kyungwoo Chun provides a conceptually well-considered setting that abstracts the individual experience of life and leaves the processes thus triggered to the portrayed in each case. The certain indeterminacy, which is also expressed aesthetically in the blurred areas within the photographs, holds the special tension of his artistic approach.
In addition, he increasingly conceives performances and participatory artistic works also in public spaces, whereby all strands of his work are closely interwoven. It is no coincidence, for example, that his performances, like the photographic approaches, pursue the idea of making the invisible tangible and social connections visible.