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Immutable Portrait

Viktor An, Inmo Hwang

‘Immutable Portrait’ is a documentary photography exhibition specially curated, featuring ‘Portraits for Biometric Passport’ by Viktor An and ‘Portraits of the Populace’ by Inmo Hwang. Viktor An delves the history and identity of Koreans (Koryo-people) who have established and molded their self-identity in Central Asia and the former Soviet regions. Viktor An captures their self-portraits, documenting their profound sense of identity. On the other hand, Inmo Hwang’s ‘Portraits of the Populace,’ masterfully captures the unique values inherent in individuals categorized as ‘the populace’ during the 20th century, with each subject imbued with their own distinct karmic significance.

“Immutable Portrait” Installation View, GALLERY PALZO, 2023

* Viktor An (b. 1947)

Viktor An Ivanovich was born in 1947 in Uzbekistan. He majored in Hydraulic Engineering and gained experience in various fields, such as being a mechanic, electrician, radio and cinema technician, and driver. He also taught young people and cultivated onions and other crops. Despite exploring many professions to find himself, he could not escape his destiny. In 1978, he became a professional photographer and worked as a correspondent for the newspaper “Lenin Kichi” in Kazakhstan. From 1991 to 2003, he served as a photo correspondent for the newspaper “Korea Ilbo,” covering Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Currently, he works as a freelance photographer. His priority in his work is genre photography, which has evolved into photo reportage and ultimately into photo history. One of Viktor An’s main themes is related to the Korean people. He captured the lives of the Korean diaspora residing in various regions such as Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Korea, and Japan through his photographs. Over the years, he has exhibited his works in various countries, including Estonia(1995), Bulgaria(1985), Switzerland(1998), Japan(1995, 2002), Germany (2009), Korea(1996, 2022), Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.

Artist Statements :

Concept of the “Biometric Passport” | Viktor An

About 10 years ago I have to sleep in police department because of photographing in wrong place. At that time such situations were usual for photographers in Tashkent. At about 11 p.m. in front of me yet another investigator made phone call and after 10 mintues a paper tape crawled out from a fax – he gave me to read it with a smile. I was shoked. Even I don’t know so much about myself as it was written in this document. Maybe that case was a precursor of this photo series. Today we are so concerned about our personal space so we can sue a neighbour with easy just because he watches you from his own window. And at the same time in the age of information we share in Internet our most private and intimate data including amateur pornography. In this project I made about a hundred of portrait pictures. And because of a sense of caution not all photographed people agreed to share their fingerprints. That’s why I treat all heroes of this project not just as “partners in crime” but also as co-authors.

“Immutable Portrait” Installation View, GALLERY PALZO, 2023

* Inmo Hwang (b. 1975)

Inmo Hwang graduated from Kyungil University’s Department of Photography and Imaging and Yeungnam University’s Graduate School of Formative Arts. He participated in the 2018 VIII Tashkent International Contemporary Bienale, 2014 Daegu Photo Biennale, “Small Happiness Photo Center-Maninso (Let’s laugh Daegu)”, and a number of individual and group exhibitions, and recorded portraits of people in Yeongnam in the 20th century. “Our Neighborhood in This Era Recorded in Photographs – Yesterday and Today 2, 3” and Today of the people of Homigot, East Sea, where the whale has left, published a photo book.  He won the Young Artist of the Year award in 2010 (Daegu Culture and Arts Center) and the Gangwon Documentary Photography Award in 2009.

“Immutable Portrait” Installation View, GALLERY PALZO, 2023

2F, 145-3, Yonghak-ro, Suseong-gu, Daegu, 42216 Republic of Korea