Zen Foto Gallery, 2019. Edition of 1,000 copies. Softcover, 182 x 240 mm, 252 pp., 119 b/w illustrations. Photographs by Koo Bohnchang. Text by Chang Suk Joo (English, Japanese, Korean).
In 1988, when Seoul was gearing up to host the Olympic Games, Korean photographer Koo Bohnchang had just returned from a long sojourn in Germany. An outsider in his own country, Bohnchang’s senses were acutely tuned to the messier parts of Korea’s shift; he found himself unsettled by Seoul’s treacherous way of marketing itself.
In his brilliant series “Clandestine Pursuit in the Long Afternoon”, Bohnchang positions fragments—furniture abandoned on the side of a road, statues, silhouettes of strangers, a close-up of a holstered gun—into a rhythmic whole that suggests a perilous, explosive atmosphere lingering just below the surface. Each single shot possesses the power to work on its own—due to a photographic sense that seems ahead of its time—but woven together, the series unfolds its true, almost existentialist strength. 30 years after its creation, the series is finally published in a photobook by Tokyo-based Zen Foto Gallery.
Koo Bohnchang attended Yonsei University majoring in Business Administration and later studied photography in Hamburg, Germany. He was a professor at Kaywon School of Art and Design, Chung Ang University, Seoul Institute of the Arts and a visiting professor in London Saint Martin School.
His works have been exhibited in over 30 solo exhibitions including Samsung Rodin Gallery, Seoul (2001), Peabody Essex Museum, Massachusetts (2002), Camera Obscura, Paris (2004), Kukje Gallery, Seoul and Kahitsukan Kyoto Museum of Contemporary Art (2006), Goeun Museum of Photography, Busan (2007), Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia (2010) and many. His collections are at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Fine art, Houston, Kahitsukan Kyoto Museum of Contemporary Art, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul and publications are ‘Deep Breath in Silence’, ‘Revealed Personas’, ‘Vessels for the Heart’, 'How to Capture the Touching Moment' in Korea and ‘Hysteric Nine’, ‘Vessel’, ‘Everyday Treasures’ in Japan.