We're running weekly interviews with the Exposure Award Judges to discover more about their photographic expertise and what they hope to see in this year's applications. We talk to Sunyoung Kim, Curator of The Museum of Photography Seoul, South Korea.
What was it that interested you to be a judge for the Exposure Award?
The Award’s supportive nature and its flexibility for boundary-pushing artists
Will there be anything you particularly hope to see during the Exposure Award judging process? And do you have any advice for those applying to the Awards?
I hope to encounter artists with brilliant talent and unexpected creativity, and see how they open up diverse possibilities of photography as an elaborate and creative visual language.
What is the greatest challenge for independent photography galleries today and what advice do you have to overcome those challenges?
This moment, after the outbreak of the pandemic, is an unprecedented challenge because it suppresses the virtuous circle of the photography market. It’s impressive many galleries are trying to do what they can to help support artists at this time. We need to be as trusting and caring towards each other more than ever before.
You see so many works by so many artists – both emerging and established. What is it about a piece, a series or a project that excites you most?
It’s hard to pick one element, but it always excites me to observe how intensely artists build up their own worlds and verify themselves as being of ‘photo artist’ in this chaotic art sphere. As taking, sharing, and viewing photographs has become second nature for many of us today, photography as an art form tends to gain its distinction from the glut of images online. Photo-based artists nowadays are forced to more clearly demonstrate themselves to answer ‘who they are’ and ‘what they can do with photography’. I understand this is a challenging moment, but a vital cornerstone to let them step forward at the same time. I feel I am lucky to observe closely and share their struggles.
Since 2015 you've looked after the series of Korean Emerging Artist shows based upon the Museum of Photography Seoul’s Portfolio Open Call. In your experience working with cutting-edge artists, how might we consider photography in its current form, and what changes do you envisage for the medium over the next five years?
In this digital era, photography has become more flexible than ever before. Diverging from its physical nature, a photograph now exists and is seen more on the web. I would say, this is the time of ‘photography after photography’ in terms that digital technology brings about a radical change to the medium. It results in a fundamental change in how we communicate. With this lightest-ever medium (the Internet) artists do experiments and define how themselves interrelate with it. They question how we newly intercourse with photography, and how we define the medium. A lot more creative definitions will be introduced by artists in the next five years.
You work with many international artists at the Museum of Photography Seoul’s – a few years ago you worked with a number of French artists for a series commemorating Korea and France's friendship, for example. What are the benefits of working with photographers from different parts of the world?
It’ is always fascinating to realize we care about many same things despite geographical and cultural differences.
The Exposure Award, powered by Modern Eye, cements the fair’s role in supporting emerging and experimental galleries and artists.