Sunday, March 16, 2008


Super Rule #5: Children know something we don't, learn from them.

Belief, these days, is intensely unfashionable. It's the naive stuff of wishes and felicities, a simpleton's faith in the impossible. Innocence is always tinged with self-chastisement. Wonder and astonishment are unsophisticated sentiments, special privileges reserved just for children: wizards on broomsticks, flower garden princesses, magic fairylands of rainbows and candy trees. Children believe unquestioningly in Mr. Wonderful ; because Yeondoo Jung completely understands.

In "Wonderland," Jung's latest collaborators have been a group of kindergarten kids. Working from drawings they've made, Jung has recreated their untarnished fantasy worlds in photographic reality...A delightful portrait of a prince giving gold to a peasant girl is romantically staged in a back alley of Seoul's slums, the city's glorious corporate skyline towering in the distance. What Jung has represented isn't artificial construction. His photos are plausible adult blueprints reflecting children's innate will to see only the good in the world.
Patricia Ellis

Jung’s new series of photos, “Wonderland” (2004), presents costumed adolescents posing in sets based as closely as possible on children’s drawings. He collaborates with many people to bring to life the boundless imagination in the drawings. For four months, Jung oversaw art classes in four kindergartens in Seoul and collected 1,200 drawings by children between the ages of five and seven. After pouring through them, he carefully selected 17 drawings and interpreted their meanings. Then he recruited 60 high school students by passing out handbills at their schools in which he invited them to act out the scenarios in the children’s drawings. In order to recreate faithfully drawing details such as dresses with uneven sleeves or buttons of different sizes, he convinced five fashion designers to custom make the clothing for the photo shoot. He also made props unlike any scale found in reality but similar to those in the drawings.

“Wonderland” changes fantasy into photographic reality without the aid of computer-generated graphics. The works, entirely made by hand, are a tremendous group effort similar to a stage production that captures the sudden changes in the actors’ forms, in the midst of people going about their lives against the backdrop of the city.

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