RE-FRAMED / RE-PHOTOGRAPHED by K Young
03-12 JUNE 2022
the Curve POP UP
in collaboration with aquabitArt gallery
RE-FRAMED / RE-PHOTOGRAPHED
a solo show by K Young
Cut. Stitch. Splice. Stick. Re-cut. Layer. Re-layer. Re-frame. Re-photograph. Faceless features appear as faces disappear. Bodies intertwined and condensed in the surreal architecture of their surroundings, bounded by the limits of the frame. As chance encounters and displacements emerge, K Young’s collages disclose intricate yet unsettling images. They call to a suspended moment in space and time, between past and present, between truth and mounted representation, real, implied, or imagined – and to a new way of thinking on photography and image-making.
“The pose of the figure or the staging of the object appeal to me more than the subjects themselves; it is the visual codes and conventions within the frame that interest me most.” (K Young)
A lens-based artist born, raised and currently living in London, UK, K Young holds a longstanding interest in the photographic medium. Graduating from Central Saint Martins (UAL), London, the artist’s interdisciplinary graphic design course, weaving in semiotics and film theory, planted the roots for their reflection on visual communication, the appointment of forced narratives onto images, and the inception of meaning – conscious and unconscious, explicit and implied.
K Young quickly began collaging from appropriated photographic imagery, commonly found in second-hand books and magazines: the starting point for a process, now K’s distinct visual language coined re-photography. Using a scalpel, K repeatedly cuts, splices, positions and assembles a palette of selected parts from these images – sometimes extracted from their source and collected by the artist several months prior – until the chance collisions feel instinctively right, when the tension in the original image has in some way been displaced. Then re-photographing the resulting collage, K Young reprints it. In doing so, the artist returns the pieces to their original materiality, bringing forth a new photograph that questions both what was constructed before and what is constructed now.
Recalling John Stezaker’s minimal yet highly suggestive interventions, Ellen Gallagher’s visual language of recurring, multi-layered motifs, or the otherworldly compositions and perspectives of Man Ray, the photographic material reinvents itself, borrowing from its original credibility.
“I actively avoid conscious ideas or narratives, often employing chance strategies in my process. While no choice is an accident, I use an emotional rather than an intellectual response when I select, cut, or assemble my source material.” (K Young)
As the original context is removed, new narratives emerge, materializing K Young’s unconscious thoughts – and unavoidably, their ever-present preconceptions. The queerness of the resulting images mirrors that of the bodies and faces that constitute them. Bodies and faces that are often female, young, models of a conventional beauty assigned to a different time. The rawness of their flesh constricted to the geometry of a floor, a ceiling, a curtain, a chair, a shoe, the geometry of the photograph itself. Subtle and deeply political, K Young deconstructs the images, the norms that govern the subject – a binary representation of the female body – and the object – the framing of that body within the photograph itself.
Facing the artworks, viewers are destabilised, confronted with conventions apparently relinquished to the past; the unconsciously subjective arrangements made by the artist; and the impulses of their own interpretation. Images are cut. Compositions are stitched. Meanings are spliced. Interpretations are layered. And as the image is re-photographed, the truth is re-framed.
Text by Roxane Latrèche
Photo credit: Annemie Martin