An intriguing exhibition shows the work of two Asian fashion photographers
Joyce Ng, You Are My Lucky Baby Pear for Modern Weekly, 2017
Two of fashion’s most innovative photographers – South Korean-born Hanna Moon (founder of A Nice Magazine) and Hong Kong-raised Joyce Ng (a Central Saint Martins graduate), both based in London – are currently showing in English as a Second Language as part of the Charles Russell Speechlys Terrace Room Series at Somerset House in London until April 28.
Hanna Moon, Moffy with Earrings, 2018
Though both women have risen to prominence via their work for leading fashion titles such as Dazed, i-D, Modern Weekly, Modern Matter and more, this free exhibition features two new bodies of photographs shot in and around Somerset House, which present a dramatic reimagining of the location’s neoclassical surroundings, telling two stories of darkness and intrigue that draw upon the heritage of Hong Kong and Seoul.
Moon captures imagery of her two muses – Moffy, from London, and Heejing, her “single-mum best friend from South Korea” – in the dark of night, rebelliously invading the site to create a series of intimate works, featuring bespoke sets and objects that reflect her personal experiences living in the UK.
Ng uses street-cast models, natural environments and props to create prosaic and surreal works. Drawing inspiration from the renowned 16th-century Chinese novel Journey to the West, she has cast models solely from the vibrant community at Somerset House, inviting visitors and residents alike to become characters in a fragmented narrative through the hidden and public spaces of the building.
Employing an otherworldly and playful approach, Moon and Ng incorporate cultural signifiers, set design and fashion to present their unique take on Western aesthetics and ideals. By so doing, they reflect upon the power that fashion photography holds in shaping our perceptions of beauty, style and taste in our interconnected world.
The project is overseen by independent curator Shonagh Marshall, whose recent project Posturing explored the pose in contemporary fashion photography through an exhibition, a film commission by Coco Capitán and a book. She previously curated the Somerset House exhibitions Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore, Utopian Voices, Here and Now and Hair by Sam McKnight.
Joyce Ng, In Her Five Elements, 2018
Joyce Ng, Maginé on the Spectrum for Super Yaya, spring/summer 2018
Images: © Hanna Moon (Moffy with Earrings); © Joyce Ng/Somerset House (In Her Five Elements); © Joyce Ng (You Are My Lucky Baby Pear for Modern Weekly, Maginé on the Spectrum for Super Yaya)
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