I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...
The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...
The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...
Axel Vervoordt Gallery is eager to present Bae Bien-U's solo exhibition Cycle, as a continuation of the artist's previous exhibitions ConvexConcave (2011) and Counterbalance (2014). In Cycle, the Korean photographer offers a close view of different series, spanning from 1981 until 2018. During his travels to the Korean island of Jeju, Bae Bien-U captured the various elements of nature playing, such as wind, sea, and earth. The landscape of Jeju is marked by water and small volcanic mountains, called 'oreum' in Jeju dialect, that are covered with rich vegetation, grass and trees. It is the wind, called 'baram', that gives energy and motion to the otherwise static landscapes. Through his photographs entitled JEJU, SEA, BRM ('baram') and OM ('oreum'), Bae Bien-U aims to contemplate on the ever repeating dynamic of a natural phenomenon, such as the typhoon. As the artist explains himself, 'it is the nature of Nature to flow back to its origin':
'Autumn in Jeju Island is typhoon season. I grew up on the island next to the sea. There was never anything more electric than the typhoon's approach–an ominous, foreboding anticipation. And then, it's arrival. Trees ripped apart. Roof tiles torn into the sky. Boats pushed up on the shore. At the typhoon's peak, the mind is still. A state of numb paralysis. The wind blusters. Objects are sent in all directions.
When a typhoon approaches, the sea falls silent. Rocks and trees around mountain streams begin to hold moisture in anticipation. Fierce waves crash against the shore. Water rises violently. The valleys are flooded like the base of a waterfall. Nevertheless, in merely a day or so, the sea is once again blessed with peace and sunlight. Lucid, crystal-clear water drizzle down the streams.
My work contemplates the typhoon. The lens explores nature's influence through the mountain streams when the first signs appear, and again next to the sea at the event's peak to feel its tremendous energy. The meditation continues until silence regains.
The typhoon's rise and fall is an inspiration about nature's cycles. In stillness and quietude, one experiences a sudden flash of enlightenment that the natural cycles are closer to the Mandala than the mundane world of humans.
I hope my lens could hold the quietest, deepest layer of the current underneath. Below, the deep sea is still. Water flows down along the mountain and continues to sink into the sea. On the water's surface above, the typhoon churns the ferocious waves into a frenzy.'
– Bae Bien-U (2018)
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