October 31, 2011

Hwanyoung Jung, "Urban Solitude", Solo Show in Alcove Gallery

Review by Clara Wanatirta, History of Art and Design Graduate Student (2012)

The Student Affairs Office, doubling up its role as the Alcove Gallery, currently houses Hwanyoung Jung’s exhibition Urban Solitude. An MFA student majoring in photography, Jung’s work is highly influenced by artists such as Andreas Gursky, Thomas Demand and Thomas Struth, amongst many others.

Jung displays five large‐format landscape photographs of the built environment, creating an interesting dynamic with the setting of this gallery. The artist frames scenarios of disconnection between the human self and the manmade surroundings by isolating individuals against vast urban landscapes. Jung’s photographs suggests that the city can easily make a person conscious of his or her personal loneliness amidst a sea of strangers at any given moment of the day.

"Untitled" 2009, digital c-print, 30'' x 40''
Uncannily, perhaps, Jung’s photographs hang at the back of a few of the staff members of the Student Affairs Office, highlighting the reality of solitude as part of the daily life of city dwellers.

Concerned with the notion of the singular unit, and therefore solitude, as the essence of existence, Jung’s body of work in this exhibition reflects this thought through capturing the city landscape juxtaposed with the solitary individual and the nature being marginally accommodated by the concretes.

The artist admits that this idea drives most if not all of his thought process, and has undoubtedly directed his artworks towards this specific notion. However, he wishes for his audience to freely interpret his photographs and take away the parts that might have stood out to them. Jung facilitates this by printing in large size, exposing minute details that would otherwise go unnoticed in landscape compositions.

It goes to show that Urban Solitude is merely a fraction of Jung’s exploration of the individual. There is a progression of idea seen in this exhibition that promises further development. A comprehensive series of work perhaps await in the near future.

This exhibition is part of the Student Exhibition Spaces Program coordinated by the Center for Career and Professional Development at Pratt Institute.  All current students can submit work for inclusion in future exhibitions by emailing ccpdprograms@gmail.com for more information.

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