Review: Oak Jungho

The Holy Landscape, Pool, December 08 – 28, 2011

Oak Jungho’s exhibit The Holy Landscape consists of two series of images depicting places, like mountains and amusement parks crowded with visitors in one, and in the other series a figure dressed in a business suit fills each frame absurdly doing yoga on a mudflat. In each series bodies and places are held in paradoxical juxtaposition, which the show’s title further underscores. The pedestrian appearance of bodies in Oak’s photographs, in places, both sacred and profane, entangle holy spaces with either unholy practices or holy practices in unholy places—a world run amok and holiness in muddy muck. Seemingly straightforward, their underlying impact would be diminished if the two sets were seen separately. Oak’s images tell the combined story of distraction and focus in the masses that head out each week to a kind of frenzied worship, we can see an ecstatic pursuit of diversions and distractions. As well the images of yogic practice, however strangely done, evident is the idea that yoga, too, has increasingly been incorporated in to the frenzy of distractions. As images the scenes of crowds may not seem as remarkable the man doing yoga, but all the same Oak ask us to reflect on what pass for healthy practices.

reviewed by Julia Marsh