NOH Suntag (*1971 in Seoul) lives in Seoul. He works in both North and South Korea and is interested in the ambivalences and breaches within and between these two societies. Numerous Solo- and Group Exhibitions.
Striking a balance between political comment and painterly aesethetic
The color photographs from NOH Suntag´s series Red House show the individual human being in eclipse. Holding colorful placards in their hands, thousands of people attending official government events at Pyongyang´s stadium become ornaments of the mass, automotons of a political system. Every individual comrade appears as a mere computer pixel. Gathered together, they consolidate into gigantic megapixel images, which in the canon of socialist images express proletarian happiness. They are fascinating and disconcerting tableaux vivants of the present.
However, the South Korean NOH Suntag is not merely interested in presenting a politically one-sided image of North Korea. In the south just as in the north, everyday life is pervaded by situations that are as subtle as they are openly violent. The mass rallies in North Korea have their counterparts in the South Korean police squadrons, which bear down on demonstrators in closed ranks, shield against shield.
Although NOH frequently directs his camera at points of political and social conflagration, his pictures are neither lurid nor sensationalist. By keeping his distance from events, he integrates the viewer into the scene. As a result, NOH´s pictures always keep a balance between political comment and artistic aesthetic. NOH is interested in the ambivalences and fractures within and between the two societies. He tries to reveal the mechanisms and forces that are causing his country so much suffering.
His series of black and white and color photographs, developed over many years, are concerned with situations of conflict within contemporary Korean society. This ambivalence finds its equivalent in NOH´s highly original photographic aesthetic, which combines documentary with fictional elements, and the fleeting nature of the photograph with strict composition.
June 28, 2010 Caroline Schilling