Destiny – Photographs by Lim Young Kyun

Giovanna Pennacchi is pleased to present


Lim Young Kyun the Korean photographer’s one-man show,

Manuela De Leonardis, Curator.

4 november-7 december 2021

inauguration in the presence of the photographer

ore 18.30 – 20.30

Lim Young Kyun is exhibiting his work in Italy for the first time. An interpreter of unhurried and meditative photography, Lim Young Kyun is an attentive observer of human nature. In his photography one is always aware of his interest in detail, captured in the immediacy of the moment. The result is a testimony of research reaching beyond appearance, emphasized by using black and white permitting Lim Young Kyun, expert in traditional developing and printing techniques, to control light and shade, darkness, and shades of grey, the basis of his expressive form. In his show Destiny, the Korean photographer is presenting a selection of images from the projects Daily Life Landscape and Nam June Paik 1982-2006: photographs shot in diverse moments and places, particularly in South Korea and in New York, where he lived from 1980 through 1988. At that time his only goal was to make ordinary daily life both extraordinary and precious. For him, photographing was the same as writing a personal diary.

“New York was a vast school” Lim Young Kyun affirms, “Numerous important artists taught me great lessons, as did the museums and galleries.  I remember, when I had just arrived in the autumn of 1980, visiting the Light Gallery, and being profoundly struck by the photography of Arnold Newman. In front of a portrait of Igor Stravinsky I had a sort of auditory hallucination. It was the power of the photograph shot with a very large camera. I learned a lot when I worked as assistant to Alex Kayser, a Swiss photographer who had studied with the legendary Otto Steinert. His way of photographing was very different from what I had learned in Korea where I experienced my first emotions tied to the discovery of photography. But at that time, I was like a scientist obsessed with accuracy, not allowing myself the slightest transgression. In New York I learned to look in another manner.”

In New York, a particularly significant meeting was that with the artist Nam June Paik (Seoul 1932-Miami 2006), the ironic neo-Dada re-elaborator of heterogeneous materials and important video art innovator. We met in 1982 at the Whitney Museum on occasion of one of his surprising, unsettling performance events with the avant-garde cellist Charlotte Moorman. Since then, Lim Young Kyan’s photographs have recounted moments of sharing and esteem: in private locations (the studio of Paik in the New York neighborhood known as SoHo or the portraits of his friends John Cage and Allen Ginsberg) as well as documenting numerous performances, shows and events, all of which had as protagonist the noted artist, culminating in the retrospective The Worlds of Nam June Paik (2000) at the Guggenheim Museum of New York with the performance In Memory of Charlotte Moorman. “From a great artist such as Nam June Paik, I learned the meaning of simplicity and passion. One of the most noted portraits I shot of him was the one where he was looking through a television screen. I took this picture in early summer 1983. It was published on January 1, 1984 in the New York Times. A photograph that expresses my new concept of photography in action.”

Manuele De Leonardis

Lim Young Kyun (Taegu, South Korea 1955, lives and works in Seoul). After receiving his diploma in Fine Arts at Chung Aug University of Seoul, he completed his studies with a masters at New York University and studying photography at ICP International Center of Photography of New York. From 1983 to 1988 he lived in New York, working as reporter for the Korean newspaper, JoongAng Daily. On his return to Korea, in addition to his professional activities (in 1999 he acted as official photographer during the visit of Queen Elizabeth II) he assumed various academic positions such as adjunct professor at the Department of Photography, New York University New York (1993 2008), Professor of Photography in the Department Photography at Chung Ang University, Seoul (1999
2012) as well as Director of the Department of Education at Daegu Arts University, Daegu (2017 18).
Among his recent exhibitions: 2019 – Nam June Paik, Now Here, 2G1L29 Gallery, Seoul, (solo show):
2018 – Winter Olympics Pyoungchang, Olympic Hall, Korea (solo show); History of Photography,
George Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York; 2014 – A Day with Nam June Paik, Gyoungido
Museum of Art (solo show); In Memory of Nam June Paik, Korean Institute of Culture, Paris (solo
show); 2013 – Camera Work, Seoul Museum of Art; 2012 – Global Visionary, Nam June Paik,
Smithsonian, Washington DC; 2009 – Last Paradise, Photographic Gallery, Tokyo (solo show);
Destiny, Space DA 798, Beijing (solo show); 2007 – Portrait of Nam June Paik, British Museum
London (solo show); 2005 – Portrait of Nam June Paik 1982-2000, Seoul Museum of Art, (solo show).
Among his published books: Nam June Paik, Now Here (2019); Unjusa (with a poem by Jean-Marie
Gustave Le Clezio, 2016); The Antarctica Story (2010); New York Story (2006); Daily Life Landscapes
(2003); Art Vivant (1994); Portraits of Artists, 1980-1993 (1993).
The photography of Lim Young Kyun is represented in many important collections, among which are:
MoMA – Museum of Modern Art, New York; ICP – International Center of Photography, New York;
George Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York; Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte,
Oldenburg, Germany; Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, Thessaloniki, Greece; National
Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul; National Museum of Korea, Seoul; Seoul Museum of Art,
Seoul; DMA – Daejeon Museum of Art, Daejeon, Korea.


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