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i A family waits to be photographed on a green screen; lately a fake background will be put behind them, with the Acquarium of the city of Busan (South-East Korea). © Filippo Venturi.

filippo venturi

made in korea*

«Neither I nor society have changed for the better, we have only become more imperfect in different ways. When the bridge over the river collapsed which cut the city in two, making you fall, as if it were a suicide, a bus full of students who were going to school, when one morning I saw an aeroplane crashing against a Wall Street skyscraper, when, sitting in front of the television the first day of the year, I remained watching in disbelief for over ten hours the Sungnyemun burning, engulfed in flames, always asking myself the same question: what are you doing?»**

Kyung-sook Shin

Among the questions posed by a structured iconic work, one of the most fascinating pertains the aesthetics, especially in addressing a critical reflection on the quality and performance of human sensitivity. You will find that in the face of thematization of the specific ways in which, as human beings, we interact with the outside world and we build experience through language. The experience of the outside world is a perceptual operation in which the manifold of intuition phenomenalises in the spontaneous agreement of the viewer's sensitivity. It collects that is around an aesthetic unity from which may later arise a logical reflection.
Imagination and intellect come into play in the production of an iconic concept through which you develop a new universe of images, which are the interpretation of reality. For this to be possible, it is however necessary that the circularity in the scheme involves the possibility of identifying a specific element through the reference language, but at the same time foresees their prior knowledge to be able to be applied with awareness and flexibility.

Faced with a world little known or unknown, the author is thus forced to seek known formal stylistics to apply them to an anthropological substrate which is, however, different compared to that in the environment in which they were assimilated. The result is a narrative where the linguistic meaning of the form used assumes reference value. The metonymic representation of the contemporary South Korean society then passes through the findings and the isolation of formal factors that implement very specific meanings within the Western culture and show us how this has penetrated within that of the Korean one during its all too rapid and radical transformation. In the relationship between imagination and language is then created the territory within which lurks and takes shape the intuition of the processing and contamination.

The atmosphere tends to be so rarefied, at the limit of abstraction compared to the known reality, giving a sense of disorientation that captures a population or an individual who sees its own principles transformed within the space of a generation.

That which for Japan was the generation of ningen shikkaku, daughter of the military defeat and the unorthodox imposition of new life parameters, for Korea it is a revolution that is born inside the country to guide its transformation into world economic power. The price already paid and still to be paid is very high in terms of individual and collective sacrifice, and it can be summarised in an individual alienation trend, which is reflected at a collective level in the increase of the use of plastic surgery practices and of suicide. 
A road has already been travelled in the last seventy years and with similar outcomes in the islands beyond the Strait of Chōzon (2).

[ Sandro Iovine ]

(*) - Made in Korea is a multiple award-winning photographic work. It was selected among the Nuovi Talenti 2015 by Fondazione Fotografia Modena and at the Sony World Photography Awards 2016 in the category Professional / People (second prize). It has also been awarded, among others, the third prize in the category Editorial: General News at Moscow International Photo Awards 2015.
(**) - Kyung-sook Shin, Io ci sarò, Sellerio Editore, Palermo, 2013; pp. 17-18 (free translation by the editorial staff).
(1) - Ningen shikkaku is the title of a novel by Osamu Dazai which describes the descendant of a man, Ōba Yōzō, that soars quickly to the symbolic representation of the sense of loss of values and great moral confusion. Confusion that has followed the defeat at the end of the Second World War with the distortion of the principles on which is based Japanese society under both legal and ethical terms.
(2) - The Strait of Chōzon is the stretch of sea that separates the Republic of Korea from the coasts of Japan.

Bodybuilders at Haeundae Beach in Busan. © Filippo Venturi.

i People on the escalators of Seoul’s tube. © Filippo Venturi.

i Training session under the Seogang Bridge in Seoul. . © Filippo Venturi.

iKids playing a courtyard, Seoul. © Filippo Venturi.

iStudent at Korea University, Seoul. Korea University is one of the infamous SKY: Seoul International University, Korea University and Yonsei University, the most prestigious universities in this country. © Filippo Venturi.

iClothes shop in Myeong-dong district, Seoul. © Filippo Venturi.

iStudents of a high school in Hongdae district, Seoul. © Filippo Venturi.

i Ad poster in a plastic surgery clinic in Seoul. © Filippo Venturi.

iHongdae district ñ Young guy in a PC room. © Filippo Venturi.

iSamsung d'light - A young guy tries on a virtual reality viewer. Samsung d'light is an exhibition area that shows the latest technology products produced by Samsung Electronics, in Gangnam district , Seoul. © Filippo Venturi.

iA fawn in Songdo International Business District. © Filippo Venturi.

iSeoul – University student in a cafè. © Filippo Venturi.

iStudy room, Korea University, Seoul. © Filippo Venturi.

iYoung people asleep in a cafè in Hongdae district, Seoul. © Filippo Venturi.

i Drunk man in Seoul. © Filippo Venturi.

Filippo VenturiFilippo Venturi - Born in 1980 in Cesena, is a photographer and filmmaker specialising in commercial works, documentaries, reportage and portraits.
His works have been published in several newspapers and magazines, such as The Washington Post, Internazionale, Die Zeit, Geo Magazine, Marie Claire, Vanity Fair e Io Donna/Corriere della Sera. He works with various agencies, both in Italy and abroad, for advertising and commercial projects. Among the awards achieved are included the Fine Art Photography Awards and the PX3 Prix de la Photographie.
Made in Korea has been exhibited at the Centro Italiano della Fotografia d’Autore di Bibbiena and at the Foro Boario in Modena by the Fondazione Fotografia. The work has been published by Emuse.

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