From the start of abstract art there was a split between two lines: one structured and economical, often proscribing curves, and a warmer, more informal one in which spontaneity imposed its rhythm.
Jinhyun Cha is an artist working in documentary photography that explores Korea’s modern and contemporary history and the identity of the division of Korea between South and North Korea. His first project, the Portraits of 108, was on a group of women forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army. After this work, he is working on reinterpreting the significance of the division that came after the Korean War in the current context. The war of ideologies that took so many people’s lives, and the irony and black comedy that sticks its head out so casually in the aftermath of this ‘drawing of borders’ – this is what he tries to visualize in a serious way. He wants his works to create a space in which we might realize the mistakes and errors that have been made, reflect on them, acknowledge them and seek to right the wrongs. His practice allows us to face and correct ‘the unfamiliar history that we are familiar with’.
With the Portraits of 108, he won the grand prize in the first Sangsang-madang Korean Photographer’s Fellowship sponsored by KT&G in 2008, and won the Asian Pioneer Photographer Award in the 6th Dali International Photo Festival in China 2015. In 2016, he was chosen as a finalist in Daegu Photography Biennale in Korea. His work, the Portraits of 108, is selected to the FotoFest 2018 Biennial ‘Discoveries of the Meeting Place’ exhibition in Houston, USA.
Cha (b.1973) earned a MFA degree in photography from Kyung-sung University, and completed his doctoral course at Hong-ik University. He lives and works in South Korea.