Even without being aware of the historical context associated with Kim Hak’s still lives of his series Alive, the solemnity of each of his images strikes the viewer. The composition provides a place to each object as if it always belonged there.
An old sandal next to a footprint, an ID surrounded by precious stones, chicken fit getting out of a kettle are gathered. The viewer seems to read a history album of Cambodia but executed in a different, monographic and poetic way.
When the Khmers rouges sized the country in 1975, they demanded that inhabitants leave all their possession behind. Precious objects or those that could be interpreted as belonging to an educated class like jewels, books or kitchen tools were hidden. In Alive, all those are displayed under the natural light, on a black background in the manner of an archeologist documenting his excavations.
The photographer gathers objects of the past and often displays them next to trace of the present. The meaning of Kim Hak’s work is to restore the unity of a broken history. He celebrates the resilience embodied by objects. Each of them tells a story of courage, survival and memory, with the idea that everything could have been lost forever.
Kim Hak digs out the past, both literally and symbolically, in order to reconnect it with today. He also maintains a contained emotion, a sense of tribute, each of the objects being associated with an individual history. The black background, the composition and the natural lightning convey a strong intensity to the whole staging.
Galerie Zlotowski is happy to present an exhibition of about 20 still lives by the Cambodian photographer Kim Hak of his series Alive.
Kim Hak was born in Battambang Cambodia in 1981. He already participated to several exhibitions in Asia, Europe and the United States. His photographs have been showed in the group exhibition Phnom Penh Renaissance held at the Museum Hospice Comtesse in Lille in 2015-16.