“Blank Medium” is composed of contemporary Korean photographer Seung Woo Back’s latest series, “11 Players”, “Framing From Within”, “Betweenless”, “Wholeness” and “Colorless”, based on Back’s representative and ’Korea Artist Prize 2016’-nominated exhibition of the same title at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul.
To Back, taking photographs in an age of excessive abundance of digital imagery is an act empty of meaning, akin to ‘shooting a watergun underwater’. According to Back’s philosophy, by ’collecting’ images rather than by ‘shooting’ them, by manipulating the image in the photograph and reassembling its semantic connections it becomes possible to draw out the minute differences between the real and the virtual, to expose the line between what is visible and what is hidden.
— from the publisher’s statement (translation by shashasha)
Although the works of Back Seung Woo take very different forms, they all address his doubts about the essence of photography. This is true whether he is utilizing his own photographs or existing archives, whether he is manipulating photographs through Photoshop or other means, or whether he is enabling the intervention of a third party. But in this era of digital imagery, when the idea that photography is a record of fact has been all but abandoned, why should anyone bother to address these issues with such diligence and passion? Being fully aware of the endless possibilities for manipulating photography, most people already distrust photographic images, even without seeing Back’s laborious works. All the same, the role of an artist is always open to interpretation, and these works can raise viewers’ awareness of their own unconscious ideas about this issue. In this regard, they are eminently worthy of our interest and attention.
— extract from Shin Boseul’s afterword