Area Park spent much of the last decade photographing the city of Seoul and the changes taking place in its social fabric. Thus, lying behind many of Park’s photographs is a documentary impulse. However, ultimately he forces his viewer to consider the absurdity and fragmentation resulting from the city’s rapid development. Moreover, Area Park makes his attitude toward the subject of his photographs clear through the titles he chooses, which refer to the economic and social gaps in modern Korea and the disconnected lives of much of its youth.
Area Park’s working method is distinctive as well. He uses a 6 x 17” panorama camera, a format rarely used in documentary photography since it is cumbersome and takes time to set up. The artist speaks of how the wide format privileges the environment over the individual, an aspect he believes to be well suited to the modern city. Furthermore, a city is experienced in multiple views. These panoramas as well cannot be taken in a single glance, thereby replicating one aspect of the urban experience.
Area Park. Born in Busan, South Korea, 1972. Lives and works in Seoul, Korea and Tokyo, Japan. Buddha standing in the middle of ruins from the Seoul…a society of gap Series. 2004. Light jet print. Smith College Museum of Art. Purchase with the Josephine A. Stein, class of 1927, Fund in honor of the class of 1927.