Bae Bien-U: Windscape
Published by Hatje Cantz
Edited by Wonkyung Byun. Text by Jeong-hee Lee-Kalisch, Chiba Shigeo.
A contemporary master of landscape photography, the influential South Korean photographer Bae Bien-U (born 1950) received international acclaim for his last monograph, Sacred Wood. Windscape picks up where that volume left off, extending Bien-U's exploration of nature to the animating presence of the wind among forests and rivers. The gentle dynamism of Bien-U's black-and-white photographs is enhanced by their prolonged exposure, which endows them with the velvety ethereality of nineteenth-century photography (also conjuring the more recent work of Thomas Joshua Cooper). Trees and grass bend in the wind; cliffs and rocks are enveloped in sea spray and fog, and the horizon evaporates in the white-gray sky. The Korean ideogram for landscape is composed of the words "wind" and "scenery," connoting the idea of a quintessence permeating all living things, and the neologistic title of this volume refers to this term, and to Bien-U's philosophy of landscape.
PRAISE AND REVIEWS
The New York Times
We can hear the wind, taste it, feel it. And as my golden retrievers, Moxie and Harry, remind me on any blowy day as they periscope their snouts into the air, we can also smell it. But here the South Korean photographer Bae, Bien-U lets us see the wind, using landscape to give gusts and breezes shape. This elemental book and its 500 shades of gray are all ocean and stone, fog and long grasses, revealing an unsettled weather of the soul. I almost expected Moxie and Harry to trot over and give the book a sniff.