THE ACTOR IS PRESENT [KOREAN ACTORS 200]

THE ACTOR IS PRESENT [KOREAN ACTORS 200]

Deadline: December 9, 2021

THE ACTOR IS PRESENT [KOREAN ACTORS 200] Photo Exhibition in New York (credit: koreanculture.org) 
Sep 8 - Dec 9, 2021
Gallery Korea of the Korean Cultural Center New York
460 Park Avenue, Floor 6, New York, NY 10022

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KOREAN ACTORS 200, which has been hosted by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC, Chairperson Kim Youngjin) as part of a promotion campaign for Korean film stars since March, will be opened in the form of a photo exhibition in New York. KOFIC conducted the campaign to create a public archive to introduce Korean actors. The full-range project selected 200 actors representing today and tomorrow of Korean films, introducing them in writing, photography, and videos. Each week, the project had released 20 actors participating in the campaign through the special website (theactorispresent.kr) since March and has recently completed announcing 200 actors and opened its official Instagram account (@koreanactors200_official). Also, a book containing photos and filmography of 200 Korean actors was published in September and will be distributed to film officials around the world. 

The photo exhibition is the finale of the campaign that has been held for the past few months. The exhibition, which features the faces of Korean actors captured by two representative photographers in Korea, will be held at Gallery Korea at Korean Cultural Center New York from September 8 to October 6, 2021. The photographers who participated in the project are Kim Jungman and Ahn Sungjin. Photographer Kim Jungman has been an international photographer for more than 40 years since winning the Young Artist Award at the 1977 ARLES International Photo Festival in France. Photographer Ahn Sungjin has shot the most pictorials of Korean celebrities over the past 30 years. The faces of the Korean actors the photographers captured are regarded as a movie itself. The exhibition will be produced and released as 'Virtual Gallery' content so that everybody can enjoy it at home vividly.

The exhibition in New York will be held through online pre-booking to limit the number of visitors per hour and thoroughly observe safety measures such as wearing masks and checking body temperature. Jo Yunjeung, Director of the Korean Cultural Center NY, explained about the exhibition, "It is a place where we can confirm the infinite energy of Korean cinema that will move the new 100 years." 

Regarding the exhibitions, Kim Youngjin, Chairperson of KOFIC, expressed, "As the title implies, 'THE ACTOR IS PRESENT' is a bold declaration that says 'The Actor is Present' who will impress the world. I hope these exhibitions will strengthen the status of global Korean actors and serve as a stepping stone for actors who have been exposed to the global film industry less frequently to raise the degree of recognition and advance to overseas stages."

Korean film is global. A new chapter in the 100-year history of Korean cinema has opened, catalyzed by Director Bong Joonho's Parasite win of the Palme d'Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, followed by four awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture in February 2020. In April 2021, Youn Yuhjung became the first Korean female actor to win awards at more than 40 international film festivals, including Best Supporting Actress at the U.S. Academy Awards. These splendid achievements are by no means a singular event; news about Korean actors’ achievements at overseas film festivals continues to be heard. These triumphs are the fruit of the history that Korean films have built over the past 102 years and a signal that foretells a significant wave of change in the global film industry in the 21st century. 

In order to further maximize the impact of the Korean film industry following this unprecedented global interest, the Korean Cultural Center New York together with the Korean Film Council is proud to present THE ACTOR IS PRESENT, the first global exhibition of its kind. This exhibition is a bold declaration that each Korean actor is here and present. Through a single photo, celebrated photographers Kim Jungman and Ahn Sungjin have captured the soul and essence of each actor, each image becoming a movie in itself. 

The Korean Film Council took on a bold challenge when there was a pause in the world's film industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The world yearned to know more about Korean actors, but there was a lack of a trustworthy archive of materials to adequately introduce Korean actors to the world. 

The Korean Film Council launched the campaign KOREAN ACTORS 200 to introduce 200 representative Korean actors through writings, photos, and videos. Such a campaign is an unparalleled record for Korean film history. The campaign, available for all to view online,  drew explosive responses from Korean film fans all over the world, affirming that Korean films, along with other beloved Korean cultural contents like K-pop, are center stage in shaping the global cultural landscape of the 21st century.

Rooted in the past 100 years of history, Korean films are at the starting line of another 100 years. Now, we invite you to feel the “infinite energy” that will drive forward the next 100 years of Korean cinema at the Korean Cultural Center New York. 

About the Photographers

Kim Jungman/ Studio Velvet Underground

Kim Jungman was born in Cheolwon, Gangwon-do, South Korea in 1954. In 1972, he entered the National School of Decorative Arts (Ecole Nationale d’Art Decoratif) in Nice, France, and majored in Western painting. It was there that he became fascinated by photography, which was a new art genre in France at that time. He debuted as a photographer in 1975 with a solo exhibition at Atelier Jean Pierre Soardi in Nice, France. In 1976, he was selected as the youngest exhibitor in 80 Photos of the Day in France and also won the Young Artist Award at the 1977 ARLES International Photo Festival. Since then, Kim Jungman’s bold and unconventional photographs have galvanized both the fashion world and the art circles.

After returning to Korea in 1979, he continued his passionate work beyond the genres of photography, figure photography, and fashion photography. As a result, he is considered a special photographer who marked a new era in Korean movie posters. Film posters for works such as A Bittersweet Life (2005), directed by Kim Jiwoon and starring Lee Byunghun, and The Host (2006), directed by Bong Joonho and starring Song Kangho, were born out of Kim Jungman's camera. So far, more than 1,000 Korean movie stars have been captured by his camera.

Although he has stopped commercial activities and focused on his artwork since 2006, Kim Jungman has willingly participated for the filming of the KOREAN ACTORS 200 campaign as he empathized with the mission to declare that ‘the Korean actor  here will touch the whole world.’ Kim Jungman's photographs in this exhibition will not only be as bold and intense as ever but also present a moment of profound comfort.

Ahn Seongjin/ Agency TEO

Ahn Seongjin was born in Seoul in 1967. In 1987, he entered the Department of Theater and Film at Chung-Ang University, but after graduation, he fell into the world of photography. Ahn studied photography as the first pupil of photographer Kim Jungman, who headed the new wave in the Korean photography industry. After debuting in 1992, Ahn Seongjin has built his reputation as leading the Korean commercial photography world.

He is known as a photographer who deeply understands the message of the original content that the artist wants to convey and is able to capture the full story in a single photo. Starting with shooting the album jackets of the representative Korean musician in the 1990s, Ahn has shot hundreds of posters of films and plays, including more than 500 album jackets. Famed actor Bae Yongjoon who headed the K-drama wave, and musician Psy, who caused the global K-pop sensation, also worked with Ahn Seongjin to build their visual concepts.

As a film major and photographer who witnessed the Korean Film Renaissance in the 2000s, Ahn was willing to participate in the KOREAN ACTORS 200 campaign, an archive project for Korean film stars in the 21st century. Through this exhibition, Ahn Seongjin will enable the Korean actors to discover their ‘new personas’ through his lens.

The KOREAN ACTORS 200 official website aims to introduce the 200 actors that best represent the present and future of Korean cinema to the people in the film industry all over the world.

The KOREAN ACTORS 200 official campaign website aims to introduce 200 actors that best represent the present and future of Korean cinema to the people in the film industry all over the world. 

Visit the campaign website to learn more about the participating actors in KOREAN ACTORS 200 OFFICIAL CAMPAIGN WEBSITE

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