With AHAE getting some less than positive press, it's not surprising the cult would strike back. AHAE's website has been revamped (early May, 2014) and the ridiculous claims I saved earlier (in the first post of this thread) are gone. That's why I saved them.
The below response, one of the first salvos in AHAE's attempt to save his artistic reputation (you'd think a cult leader holed up in his compound following the deaths of hundreds of school children on one of his badly managed ferries would have more important things on his mind) is I imagine related to...
A friend just offered this brief translation of the material on this French blog concerning Ahae's exhibitions
at the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles:
(very briefly) article says that Ahae pays an overwhelming amount of money (sometimes undefined) to have his exposition reserved in some famous place (Louvre, L'Orangerie, Jardin des Tuileries). People questions about the talent of the photographer and his picture because of being too simple. And behind that, he makes a huge amount of money back from goodies (postal card, artbook, etc..) from souvenir shop (usually right behind exposition) and also from Magazine publishers.Thanks to this insightful blog post,
written 18 months before the Sewol sank, for the link. More about that a little later.www.ahae.com
now links to http://ahaenews.com/en
which offer testimonies in defense of Mr Yoo, and I think every one of them is worth saving:
The first addresses allegations the Louvre was bribed. There is a statement on the new AHAE site and a video testimony:
No Artist can ‘Bribe’ a Historical and World Renowned Institution such as the Louvre
Mike von Joel / Editor in Chief, STATE MEDIA, London
23 April 2014
I feel compelled to write following certain news items brought to my attention through the international news feeds that are accessed daily by my office.
In particular, my attention has been drawn to the insidious calumnies currently being directed at the Korean photographer and artist we know in the UK as AHAE.
I have no knowledge of the politics or business infrastructure of South Korea and have no authority for making any comment on current or past activities of corporate entities based therein. However, as the editor in chief of the largest circulation art & photography magazine based in London and serving the whole of the UK, I do have the authority to comment on the standing of the Korean photographer AHAE, his work and his status in the contemporary European art world.
1. His recent exhibition programme
AHAE has recently completed an exhibition programme that began modestly in Prague under the auspices of one of the Czech Republic’s leading curators, museum director, critic and artist: Prof Milan Knížák.
It culminated with a major exhibition in Paris under the umbrella of the Louvre with a personal citation by the Director of the Louvre, Mr Henri Loyrette. This was followed by a tribute exhibition at the Palace of Versailles at which Mr Loyrette attended as one of the guests of honour.
AHAE showed photographic works from his conceptual landscape series and also some of his natural history studies of wild life – these being representative of his declared interest in sustaining the planet and its natural resources.
It has apparently being claimed that these were somehow ‘bogus’ exhibitions and the result of AHAE’s associates ‘buying’ favours with these organisations.
Accusations like these are so ridiculous that they barely merit discussion. No artist, however exalted, can ‘bribe’ a historical and world renowned institution such as the Louvre. Ask the simple question: why would the Louvre jeopardise its centuries old reputation for any individual that happened to offer financial inducements? It is an organ of the French State and dedicated to superior works of art across all disciplines. The sole reason AHAE enjoyed a collaboration with this august institution was on the basis of merit – supported by the opinion of a number of eminent critics who have witnessed the development of AHAE photographic works over the last three years or so.
2. The price of AHAE’s photographs.
There have been further accusations that AHAE’s works cannot possibly command the prices that have been quoted. Suffice it say that the most expensive contemporary photograph in world is by Andreas Gursky – a German artist. Called Rhine II. It was bought for £2.7 million. It is a large scale work that simply depicts the Rhine River. It is illustrated here:
Large scale photographs using the latest digital processes at the idiom of the moment and landscape is a perennial favourite with serious collectors.
3. Sponsorship of Exhibitions
Finally, I am given to understand that some corporate sponsorship initiatives are being re-addressed and re-defined as ‘bribery’ or otherwise as ‘corrupt’ practice.
Suffice it to say that every major exhibition – indeed, even modest exhibitions of quality – are sponsored in the current contemporary art market. Deutsche Bank and USB are constant high profile supporters of events in the UK; in America and Europe this is even more the ‘norm’.
This year (2014) Euisun Chung, vice-chairman of Hyundai, announced the new 11-year sponsorship deal with London’s Tate Modern art gallery valued at in excess of £5 million.
I am personally appalled at the grotesque distortions being aimed at the artist AHAE all of which appear to be completely fabricated and without foundation.
Mike von Joel DipAD MA
Editor in Chief
Completely fabricated AND without foundation?