We are excited to welcome you to NOH Suntag’s first solo show at Art Agents Gallery.
NOH Suntag’s photo series observes conflict situations in contemporary Korean society. These conflicts go back to 1948 and the division of Korea into two separate states. The two ideological extremes that define the North and South sides of the country are perceived by NOH as a permanent state of emergency. He shows this dichotomy by photographing evidence of the dictatorship in North Korea and the turbo-capitalism since the 1990s in South Korea, a military presence on both sides, and the situations both subtle and openly violent that pervade everyday life on the peninsula. NOH analyzes the social and political ambivalences and breaks within and between the two societies. His photographs are taken in both parts of Korea. They are documents of specific events and embody stylized, seemingly fictional constructions. The series Red House II, Give and Take, for example, deals with the way the North and the South see each other. The images were taken during an official press trip through North Korea, with the route and places predetermined by the regime. NOH’s images manage to reveal how North Koreans see South Koreans and vice versa. The Camera is a mediator, a medium for social interactions, which substitutes for communication. NOH’s individual photographic aesthetic combines the documentary with the fictional; the snapshot with stringent composition. “I know of North Korea. I don’t know what I know about it,” NOH states in a foreword to Red House II.
In the last nine years, NOH Suntag created eight photo series with over 200 images. Of these, we will show a selection of 30 works. Our exhibition follows the same theme that NOH Suntag, along with Iris Dressler and Hans D. Christ, explored for his solo show at the Württembergischen Kunstverein in Stuttgart. In order to pursue transparency between the different series of NOH’s work, the photo series are presented as asynchronous narratives, including rhythmic sequences, image pairs, as well as individual images.
NOH Suntag was born in 1971 in Seoul, South Korea. He ranks among the most advanced artists in his country and his works receive great attention. Among other exhibitions, he took part in the Gwangju Biennale in 2006. His first European solo show, during the spring of 2008 in the Württembergischen Kunstverein Stuttgart, secured him an international acceptance. Following the Stuttgart exhibition, a comprehensive catalogue was published in the Hatje Cants Verlag. The catalogue includes a photo essay by Hans D. Christ and an extensive interview between Natahlie Boseul Shin and NOH Suntag. This catalogue will be on display in the gallery during our show.