YEONDOO YOUNG’s “Evergreen Tower” series

eondoo Jung (정연두) (Jinju, South Korea, 1969), one of Korea´s outstanding photo artists, studied in Seoul and the UK and received an MFA from Goldsmiths College, London in 1997. His ‘Evergreen Tower’ series (2001), consisting of 32 family portraits from an apartment block, Evergreen Tower, in Gwangin-gu Gwangjang-dong, Seoul, has drawn substantial focuses to the local media and the art community. Modern Seoul city attracts all sorts of people from the whole country for many reasons. Some of them work at factories and the others at office. The nesting ground for the home seekers in the stranger’s city Seoul, the ‘Evergreen Tower’ became a home tower of safely based families among them. 150sq feet identical living room spaces are heavenly ground for the tired salary men who just got back from their hardworking routine to find their warm hearted families are waiting for them. A modern loving family scene can be easily started in this concrete squire tower. Portraying Korean and Asian life styles, this work has presented different family living style and social background from one typical public housing. Through his work, Jung has came across the discussion of hierarchy, space and status of life. Jung tried to arouse people´s consciousness on life and desirous of inner paradise by taking the opportunity of acquaintance with the resident, the congested living space and the likenesses of live experience. The photographs share uncanny similarities due to the architecture of the building and yet emphasise the differences between the individual families. Artist’s intention is to contrast the lives of the nuclear families with the mass-produced housing of Seoul city.

“Jung uses photography like some kind of x-ray vision, slicing through the jaded veneer of reality, not to expose what’s underneath, but rather what was there on the surface all the time. With each click of the shutter, he exhumes the magic of things that have slipped by our notice. Within these identical pre-fab units is a megacosm of secret life, a wonder-world of private domains, perfect empires constructed by the people who dared to dream them. People just like us, just like Jung. Jung’s portraits do more than just depict circumstance; they are mementos of his own relationships. Photographing people in their homes requires trust: the cultivation of friendships, a process of giving oneself. Sharing experience and aspiration, expanding one’s own existence in the world. Evergreen Towers consist of 32 families, each one known to Jung by name, personality, occupation, and interests. Through his work, he is presenting more than their dreams. He’s disseminating the qualities of their friendship. With each image, Jung acts as mutual acquaintance, making an introduction between viewer and subject. Each photo represents a world made smaller by one less degree of separation. Collaboration is more than a process, it is the art.”
By Patricia Ellis

Jung’s web site