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May 19, 2014, 09:16:12 PM
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Offline Peter

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The Artist Formerly Known As AHAE
« on: May 19, 2014, 09:16:12 PM »
From AHAE's site as it appeared before word spread that he was in fact the cult leader Yoo Byung-eun.

I think this is worth saving. Something tells me it won't be around much longer.
Update, May 19: I was right, it's gone  ;)

Quote
AN INTRODUCTION TO AHAE AND HIS PHOTOGRAPHY

THE PHOTOGRAPHER AHAE
It is the natural world in all its vibrant purity that breathes through the artworks of the Korean photographer Ahae. In his attempt to capture the passing of time and the beauty of his surroundings, Ahae has produced a strong message regarding the responsibility we have towards the world in which we live. His photographs explore the natural environment, which he has worked to protect since the 1970s. He can be described as an inventor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, environmental activist, martial artist, painter, sculptor, poet, and photographer. Ahae’s name is linked with international organic farming and nature conservation projects, and his photographic works became a logical progression from his focus on nature and how we perceive it.

Ahae’s life began in 1941 in Kyoto, Japan, where his family had been relocated during the period of Japanese colonial rule, but he returned to his homeland on the South Korean Peninsula at the end of the Second World War, and it is there that he has spent most of his life.

Ahae’s creative talent manifested itself from an early age. This coupled with his insatiable interest in the world around him—both close at hand and far away—drew him into ever-widening realms of activity and ideas. Beginning with drawing and painting, he soon set his hand to sculpting in general and he even became a master in the art of mask making. His artistic inclinations also took him in the direction of the arts of the martial kind. This led to a life-long affinity with such disciplines. He holds a seventh degree black belt in Taekwondo, is highly trained in Judo, and he has even developed his own style of exercise and self-defense. Ahae worked in the field of broadcasting in his twenties and early thirties. By his mid-thirties, however, he had begun to apply his creative talents to the business world, founding his first enterprise at the age of 35.

With such a broad spectrum of interests, he designed and invented a wide range of unique products, including various household items; numerous health-related products; and various boats and small ocean-going ships that now plough the waters of the Han River in Seoul and further afield. In the course of his career, Ahae has registered and owned over one thousand patents and trademarks and he has received several internationally recognized awards for his inventions. Ahae has been a conservationist all his life and has done everything within his power to ensure that his business activities do not conflict with his endeavors to maintain the purity of the natural world. His focus on organic products is a natural extension of his concern for the environment, and the individual in particular.

In the past two decades, Ahae has sought out suitable land upon which to put into practice his organic lifestyle concept, focusing on the interconnection between nature protection, organic farming, and healthy blood—this being the key to a healthy body. Just as in his photographs, Ahae depicts the natural world as it is, in his farming activities, he does all that is possible to allow nature to live as it was intended to live, without the interference of man and man-made additives of any kind. Two organic tea plantations under Ahae’s supervision in South Korea now have USDA 100% organic certification, as does 123 Farm—the largest organic lavender farm in Southern California—of which Ahae was chairman of the board of directors.

AHAE'S PHOTOGRAPHY

It was during the 1970s that Ahae first became active in the photographic field; he started collecting cameras and taking photographs, and this continued through the 80s. In those years, however, time and other commitments would not allow him to pursue this art form with the intensity that he desired. He was forced to apply his hand elsewhere and had to wait a couple of decades before he was able to take up his camera once more.
Note: I imagine that's a vague reference to his time in the mass suicide/murder cult and his subsequent jail time.

By that time, the field of photography had developed to such a tremendous extent technologically that he was able to grant his artistic qualities their full free range.

Recently, in the course of four years, Ahae took more than 2.6 million photographs—all from just one window of his studio—recording the countless episodes that took place within his view amongst the creatures with whom we share our planet. It was selections from these photographs that were on display at the first Through My Window exhibition at Grand Central Terminal in spring, 2011.

During these four years Ahae was to be found at his window every day, come rain or shine, recording every natural feature and scene that catches his eye. Most of these episodes go unnoticed. Ahae not only sees them, but through his art, he attempts to bring them to the view of the rest of the world. Scenes pastoral and comic, dramatic and tragic, dynamic and serene, enchanting and breathtakingly beautiful are captured through his lens.

With the artist’s eye for light, color and detail, Ahae captures landscapes and wildlife in all four seasons; moments in time that may never occur again. He draws us into the natural scene with all its intimate moments and then allows us to stand back and bathe in the serenity of the whole. Ahae takes us from morning’s first light to the day’s last glimmer, through spring, summer, autumn, winter, through all the mood swings of the seasons as they change, and through the movements of the sun and the moon.

Not wishing to disturb the natural scene on his studio set beyond his window, Ahae does not even permit himself the luxury of air-conditioning in the hot and humid Korean summer. His open window exposes him to the bitter cold and winds of winter and the burning hot sun and mosquitoes of the warmer months. Each shot is taken individually, he seldom uses a tripod, even when handling the largest of cameras with the longest of lenses, and he never uses any artificial lighting.

The result is an “organic” image of the changing scenes of nature outside Ahae’s window in photographs that present very direct and frank views, revealed through natural light.

Since Ahae takes an average of 2,000 to 4,000 photographs every day, it has become necessary to establish a photo-processing station to facilitate the archiving of the constant flood of photographs. This is operated by Ahae Press, Inc. During processing, in keeping with Ahae’s philosophy of maintaining natural integrity, there is absolutely no manipulation of photographs, such as colour alteration, cutting and pasting, combining of photographs, or introduction of foreign elements into the images; only clean-up of photographs (aligning, spot-removing, and minor contrast and light correction) is allowed before the final works are printed.

Ahae’s collection of cameras has increased over time so that he now uses a wide range of equipment, including the highest quality 35mm and medium format cameras and all the different sizes of lenses available on the market, including some very rare collectors’ items. All of the Through My Window collection of photographs were taken using state-of-the-art digital cameras. Top-of-the-line, long-range telephoto lenses were used for most of the animal images in the collection, while a variety of medium format cameras were used for the scenery shots.

The amazing accomplishment of producing one million photographs in two years through just one window has never before been attempted, let alone carried out. The additional fact that Ahae’s photography involves no artificial lighting, no staging, and no manipulation during editing underlines the unique nature of this project, making it all the more vital that these photographic works should be brought to the public eye.

In a recent interview, Professor Milan Knížák, former General Director of the National Gallery in Prague, said that “all the photographs of today have some social meanings and they are over sophisticated” and that “to meet [Ahae’s photographs] was like a miracle…so simple, so beautiful and so perfect.” As an artist, Ahae puts great emphasis on honesty and simplicity: characteristics that are sadly disappearing from today’s art world. Photographic works such as Ahae constantly produces are oftentimes dismissed as “ordinary”.

It should be understood, however, that it is actually very difficult to capture such natural beauty without the application of artificial or synthetic elements.
This is the case when it comes to all forms of modern art and music. It is becoming more and more difficult to find “true” artists who have both the skills and creative talent needed to produce works that are new, demonstrate technical excellence, and hold deep significance. People no longer understand the importance of fine art; indeed its very definition is becoming more and more vague as the simple natural beauty of the world around us is buried deeper and deeper under the mountain of an ever-growing civilization characterized by many aspects that are artificial and man-made.

Ahae’s aim is not just to produce wonderful photographs; he also wants to open everyone’s eyes to be able to see the wealth of life that is right there beside them if they just look out of the window. Capturing, as he does, the passing of time and the beauty of the nature surrounding him, the message Ahae broadcasts to the world as he exhibits his photographs comes through loud and clear: open your eyes, see the amazing and very precious natural world around you, and do whatever you can to protect it before it is too late. Ahae wishes to make people aware of their immediate surroundings. Today, there are many voices that cry out for awareness in regard to global warming and other environmental issues, but such matters are very difficult for individuals to embrace in their daily lives.

For many years, Ahae has been cultivating and protecting the scene that meets his eye when he looks out from his studio window. As a result of his dedication to the protection of his natural surroundings, he has been able to photograph over twenty percent of all the birds that visit the Korean Peninsula. Deer and other animals also run around freely on this small stretch of land where the changes in season are reflected in a kaleidoscope of colors and even the weeds can radiate their natural beauty against a sky of resplendent light. Ahae has always sought to lead by example, this being another case in point. If we look around at our surroundings, we, too, can discover much of our natural heritage that is worth protecting and nourishing.

Ahae’s photographs that show the changing seasons and dynamic sky are especially meaningful. Nature has a resilience beyond any human comprehension. After a long, cold winter during which everything appears to be dead, nature is able to fill the world with an unimaginable and incomprehensible abundance of life, not just once, but over and over again as year follows year. We, on the other hand, experience our physical condition growing ever weaker as the years pass and we grow older. Nevertheless, the life force in the natural world surrounding us gives us a great sense of hope. In just one patch of sky within Ahae’s view from his window, countless different scenes are played out and captured with the click of a button on the photographer’s camera. Momentary impressions of sunlight, moonlight, and clouds create images the beauty of which cannot be described adequately in words.

2.6 million photographs through one window in four years. Or is it just four years? Ahae’s collection that is now being brought to the public is actually the result of a life time of observation and endeavor. Through these photographic works we see not only the artist, but also the naturalist and conservationist, and above all we see a man who sees life, and a man who wants us to see that life as well.
Ahae Press Editing Department

May 19, 2014, 09:16:40 PM
Reply #1

Offline Peter

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Re: The Artist Formerly Known As AHAE
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2014, 09:16:40 PM »
Quote
Recently, in the course of four years, Ahae took more than 2.6 million photographs...During these four years Ahae was to be found at his window every day, come rain or shine, recording every natural feature and scene that catches his eye...
That's roughly a photo a minute for four years...all taken from his bedroom. :o
Quote
Since Ahae takes an average of 2,000 to 4,000 photographs every day
2,000 photos a day for four years is closer to 3 million photographs. 3,000 a day (the average of the two figures) amounts to 4.4 million.
2,000 a day is 83 per hour. More if we assume this super hero photographer needs to sleep.
3,000 a day is 125 per hour. 4,000 a day is 166 per hour, again that's assuming no naps or toilet breaks.
Quote
The amazing accomplishment of producing one million photographs in two years through just one window has never before been attempted, let alone carried out.
That's because it's a stupid idea.



May 19, 2014, 09:17:14 PM
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Offline Peter

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Re: The Artist Formerly Known As AHAE
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2014, 09:17:14 PM »
More about Mr Yoo's photographer alter ego:

AHAE. The Extraordinary Within the Ordinary
Quote
Catherine Pégard's foreword

I remember my first meeting with the son of Korean artist AHAE at the inauguration held at the Louvre in 2012, in the Tuileries garden, on the invitation of Henri Loyrette. Mr Yoo spoke of his father's unique work with simple words and admiration. He made it his mission to bring this work to people who are in too much of hurry to take the time to watch the incessant movements of life seen through a single window.

The "extraordinary within the ordinary" said Henri Loyrette with the insightful words which accompanied his assertive choices in the twelve years he spent at the helm of the Louvre.

Through a single window, from dawn to dusk, AHAE embraces the world in which the infinitely small takes prominence in the landscapes he unveils to us. Little bits and pieces create a fresco. And behind the photographer's modest gesture, we find the extreme sophistication of the poet's thoughts. A moment which merges with eternity.

This year, I've invited AHAE to exhibit at the Palace of Versailles a new series of photographs taken from the same window. The setting created at the Orangerie by Guy Oliver shows us the undreamt-of beauty of the world of AHAE, unfolding through the hours and seasons: "the extraordinary within the ordinary".

This year, we are celebrating the 400th anniversary of the birth of André Le Nôtre. With a form of recurring irony, AHAE's exhibition fits into this period dedicated to the King's gardener. While Le Nôtre disciplines nature and fashions it to the King's eye, AHAE is totally captivated by nature, in all its aspects, illustrating on the other side of the world, inside his room, the words of Marcel Proust: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes".

This is the voyage I am inviting you to embark on. I wish to thank Keith Yoo for having made it possible. A magical moment.


The Louvre AND the Palace of Versailles. Wow.

May 19, 2014, 09:19:16 PM
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Offline Peter

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Re: The Artist Formerly Known As AHAE
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2014, 09:19:16 PM »
The reason Ahae, Mr. Yoo's photographer alter-ego, exists is revealed in this article:

Quote
The prosecution sought arrest warrants, Wednesday, for Byeon Gi-choon, CEO of Chonhaeji, a ship building affiliate of Chonghaejin Marine, and Ko Chang-hwan, CEO of Semo, a major affiliate, on charges of breach of trust.

They are suspected of paying tens of billions of won to the Yoo family on the pretext of “business counseling.”

Byeon allegedly bought photographs taken by Yoo at prices far more than their apparent value. He is also the CEO of I-One-I Holdings, a de facto holding company that controls the ferry operator.
That reminds me of the "art" of serial rapist Jeong Myeong-seok. From his May 16, 2004 sermon:
Quote
It would take me only 3 minutes for me to draw a picture. Sometimes when I do it fast, I could do it in 1 minute. But because I’m always so busy, I only draw abstracts. Abstracts take me only 30 to 40 seconds to draw. I can draw a great masterpiece in that short a time. I’ve drawn so many pictures, in the past 40 years, I’ve been drawing pictures. And such pictures are great masterpieces. Later they’ll be worth millions of dollars.
And presto - members start paying more for his art.


And like Jeong, Mr Yoo aka Ahae, considers himself a poet:

Quote
POEMS BY AHAE by ASSOULINE
A series collection of Ahae's poetry | Volumes 1-3 currently available | Korean text with select poems translated into English

ECHOES OF MY THOUGHTS by ASSOULINE
A collection of Ahae's poetry | Available in English, French, Korean, Italian, Russian

May 19, 2014, 09:20:36 PM
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Offline Peter

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Re: The Artist Formerly Known As AHAE
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2014, 09:20:36 PM »
Yoo's eldest son to be called in
Quote
The prosecution will call in Yoo Dae-gyun, the eldest son of the former Semo Group Chairman Yoo Byung-eun, for questioning today. The Incheon District Prosecutors' Office suspects that he had pocketed the affiliates' money and helped his father create secret funds.

On Sunday, the former chairman's elder brother, Yoo Byung-il, was questioned over his involvement in Chonghaejin Marine. He was the first to be questioned among the members of the Yoo family.

Yoo's second son, Yoo Hyuk-kee, defied the prosecution's previous summons. He is known as the heir apparent of Yoo's empire. Yoo Byung-il is suspected of having played a role in adding more cabins to the ferry, one of the suspected reasons for the sinking. The prosecution has so far questioned many of Yoo's inner circle who are suspected of helping him hide money away.

Chae Gyu-jeong, CEO of Onzigoo, was summoned Sunday for allegations that he purchased photographs taken by Yoo at prices far more than their apparent value. Onzigoo is an auto parts making affiliate. Before taking the post in 2008, Chae served as vice governor of North Jeolla Province and mayor of Iksan. Prosecutors suspect Chae has been deeply involved in creating secret funds for Yoo and bribing politicians.

On Saturday, Jeon Yang-ja, a 72-year-old actress and the president of Gookje Yeongsang, was grilled over allegations that she had deeply involved in creating the Yoo family's secret funds. She denied she was given any orders from Yoo in running the company. The media company is considered a key affiliate of Semo because the senior Yoo held a 28.8 percent stake in the unit until 2009. He gave up his shares in other affiliates of Semo after it went bankrupt in 1997. Those shares were distributed to affiliates, including Chonghaejin Marine, Ahae, Chonhaeji and Moonjin Media.

Jeon has been believed to be one of the closest friends of Yoo, serving as the head of a facility of a religious cult, "Salvation Sect," as well as a food and grocery distributer. The sect is an evangelical Baptist-style church created by Yoo and his father-in-law. It was ousted from the Christian churches council for being “heretical.” ...

May 19, 2014, 09:22:28 PM
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Offline Peter

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Re: The Artist Formerly Known As AHAE
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2014, 09:22:28 PM »
And here are some more details and a rather odd revelation. Abandoned subway cars? I predicted the man hunt, but I sure didn't see that one coming. And the cult's headquarters is where "AHAE" took his "2.7 million" "photos".
Quote
The family behind the company that operated the sunken Sewol ferry continued to stonewall investigators yesterday. Prosecutors failed to arrest the oldest son of family patriarch Yoo Byung-eun in Seoul and aren’t even sure where other family members are.

A group of prosecutors and police officers visited the residence of 44-year-old Yoo Dae-gyun, the eldest son of the family, in Seocho District, southern Seoul, yesterday, bringing arrest and raid warrants issued by a court for tax evasion and embezzlement.

Firefighters forced open a locked door and the team stormed the house to search for the son. However, as of press time, they did not find him. ...

On Monday, the prosecution sent a senior prosecutor and several investigators to the headquarters of the Evangelical Baptist Church in Anseong, Gyeonggi, which the patriarch founded and allegedly leads, suspecting the eldest son and father could be hiding there.

The headquarters, called Geumsuwon, is located in a remote mountainous area and protected by barbed-wire fences and surrounded by old, used Seoul Metro trains. It’s thought that the sect’s adherents hold religious ceremonies and sleep inside the subway cars.  Officials of the church refused to open the main gate of the headquarters when the prosecutor and investigators visited Monday, saying the Yoos were not there.

About 50 adherents of the sect held a rally right inside the main gate and brought about 40 vehicles to block the gate. They claimed the prosecution was trying to crack down on the church, which they say had nothing to do with the Yoo family or the sinking of the ferry.

May 19, 2014, 09:25:07 PM
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Offline Peter

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Re: The Artist Formerly Known As AHAE
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2014, 09:25:07 PM »
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:
Quote
(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:

Quote
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.

Yours sincerely,

Mike von Joel DipAD MA
Editor in Chief

Completely fabricated AND without foundation?

May 19, 2014, 09:38:12 PM
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Offline Peter

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Re: The Artist Formerly Known As AHAE
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2014, 09:38:12 PM »
Confirmation from AHAE Press (I'm guessing that's one cultist with a laptop) that AHAE is the cult leader Yoo Byung-eun.
Press release from AHAE press.
Above link no longer works.
The press release is still available here.
 And here.

Quote
Korean photographer AHAE and Ahae Press express profound sadness to Sewol ferry victims and condolences to the families of those lost and injured
By Ahae Press, Inc.
Published: Friday, Apr. 25, 2014 - 2:53 pm
NEW YORK, April 25, 2014 -- /PRNewswire/ -- Ahae Press and the noted photographer who goes by the name AHAE (Byung Eun Yoo) and whose works have been shown at the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles, were shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of life in the Sewol ferry disaster last week, and share in the great grief the victims and their families are experiencing from this devastating tragedy.

While reports have noted correctly that Mr. Yoo's two sons are investors in I-One-I Holdings, one of the shareholders of Chonghaejin Marine Co. Ltd., the operator of the Sewol ferry, the elder Mr. Yoo, age 73, does not own any shares, direct or indirect, of Chonghaejin nor is he involved in the company's management.  He has devoted his last several years exclusively to his artistic endeavors.

"Mr. Yoo's artistic photography is exhibited and marketed by Ahae Press, Inc.," said Michael Ham, who is the Managing Director. "Mr. Yoo does not have any involvement in the management or day-to-day operations of Chonghaejin Marine Co. I am dismayed at the media reports linking him to the Sewol incident and suggesting that he is directly responsible for this tragedy. These claims cannot be further from the truth. I know that he has been spending every single day of the past four to five years focusing on his photography work."

The Yoo sons are also deeply saddened and concerned about those hurt in this major tragedy, as reflected in the statement they issued last week in Korea through Attorney Son Byoung-gi, the legal representative of I-One-I Holdings:  "We and our families would like to express our deep sorrow," and confirm a commitment and understanding to help ease the "mental shock, pain, anguish and rage of the families of the victims and the missing passengers," Mr. Son stated.

While the Korean authorities investigating the ferry tragedy have issued a travel ban for 30 to 40 officials associated with Chonghaejin ownership, including members of the Yoo family, this blanket approach is standard for investigations by Korean regulators.

Ahae Press stated that it wishes that all efforts be devoted to both helping and honoring the victims of this tragedy, and that it is concerned inaccurate media reporting has diverted this focus, turning it into an undeserved attack against AHAE, his character and his credentials as an artist.

Mr. Ham noted that "AHAE's work brings much pride to his country. I have witnessed the substantial emotional impact his art has had on the hundreds of thousands of visitors who have attended his exhibitions. I have read countless notes and letters from visitors expressing their enthusiasm and love toward his photographs."

AHAE, which means "child" in old Korean language, has exhibited his photography recently at a pavilion in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris, hosted by the Louvre Museum. He is also the first Korean artist ever to have been invited to exhibit his artworks at the Palace of Versailles.

Ahae Press expressed concern that unwarranted accusations have been made by the Korean media questioning AHAE's standing as an artist, and unfairly challenging the value of his art.

Prof. Milan. Knizak, director general of the National Gallery in Prague from 1999 to 2011, and currently a professor at Prague's Academy of Fine Arts, issued a statement noting the importance and value of AHAE's work, saying: "AHAE is a remarkable artistic personality... AHAE in his photographs brings plain, unadorned observation of reality, trying not to deform anything he sees."

"After a series of exhibitions and presentations in a few European and American art museums and galleries, his art became famous," said Prof. Knizak. "Today, AHAE belongs to a very few Korean artists widely known, one of them being my old friend and colleague Nam June Paik.  AHAE's prices move on reasonable levels and never jumped too high. This is also a sign of AHAE's strength, dignity, and humbleness. Korea should be proud of people like AHAE."

Further support for the importance and genuine value of AHAE's art comes from Mike von Joel, Editor-in-Chief of State Magazine, the largest circulation art and photography magazine based in London.

"AHAE has recently completed an exhibition program that began modestly in Prague under the auspices of one of the Czech Republic's leading curators, museum director, critic and artist [and] 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," Mr. von Joel stated.

"It has apparently been claimed that these were somehow 'bogus' exhibitions and the result of AHAE's associates 'buying' favours with these organizations," he stated. "No artist, however exalted, can 'bribe' a historical and world renowned institution such as the Louvre. Ask the simple question: why would the Louvre jeopardize 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... 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."

Ahae Press noted that some other media reports, including those that inaccurately state that Mr. Yoo is "the de facto owner" of the ferry company, have dredged up past events that serve only to divert everyone from what should be a singular focus on helping those hurt by this tragedy. For instance, recent media reports have brought back painful memories from 1991 to Mr. Yoo when he was the undeserved focus of a frenzied media circus, and then subsequently fully exonerated, showing the media reports were speculative and inaccurate.

The irresponsible news reports at that time speculatively associated Mr. Yoo, who was then the head of the Semo Corporation, with a major mass suicide scandal related to a religious cult. Korean authorities thoroughly investigated the incident and determined that Mr. Yoo had no link to the mass suicide. But the media attacks left a painful and lasting impression on the Korean public, which has been further exacerbated by the reports from this past week, many of which repeated the inaccurate and unsubstantiated reports of more than 20 years ago.

As aiding the victims and their families must be the paramount concern and focus, Ahae Press is committed to being vigilant in providing accurate information to the media, so that further inaccurate media reports will not divert focus away from the urgent needs of those harmed in this tragedy as well as their families.


Does the "accurate information" you are committed to "vigilantly providing" include the whereabouts of Yoo and sons?

May 19, 2014, 09:52:29 PM
Reply #8

Offline Peter

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Re: The Artist Formerly Known As AHAE
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2014, 09:52:29 PM »
There are Infinite Possibilities in the World of AHAE
Henri Loyrette / Director, Louvre Museum, Paris (2001 - 2013)
Quote
There are times in our lives when serendipity accelerates events and the exceptional can occur. In September last year, I sat next to the acclaimed designer Guy Oliver, who was the guest of a mutual friend, at a lunch in Malaysia. He told me about an artist who had created a grand experiment, taking one million photographs in two years. What is more remarkable than this unprecedented feat is that the photographs were taken, and continue to be taken, from a single window.

The photographer Ahae (which means “child” in ancient Korean) has faithfully captured his vision of a landscape carefully preserved and protected for the last two decades. He invites us to see the extraordinary in the apparently ordinary. A change in light or a change in the weather can make an object appear quite different. The same water surface can resemble rock or a pool of mercury, the silhouette of a bird caught in the sunlight like a delicate drawing.

If you look very carefully at these images you will recognise the shape of a tree or the personality of a bird, each intimately known by the artist through the changing seasons, every minute of every day (the world in a grain of sand, if you will), but something that demonstrates the beauty and diversity of our world if only we take the time to stop and look.

Technology is something that should not be overlooked here—some of the images you will see were only made possible by the very latest advances in photography, allowing pictures to be reproduced on a grand scale, such as the impressive light boxes that are 5 metres high by 10 metres wide.

There are infinite possibilities in the world of Ahae, and it is my sincere hope that you will enjoy this exhibition of his work, exceptionally hosted by the Louvre.

March 2012

South Korea Can Be Proud of an Artist Like AHAE
Laurent Bayle / Chairman / Philharmonie de Paris
Paris – April 27, 2014
Quote
I have directed the Cité de la Musique since 2001 and the Salle Pleyel since 2006. I have been chairman of the board of directors of the Philharmonie de Paris since 2006 as well.

I discovered Ahae’s photographs on the occasion of the exhibition held by the Louvre Museum in 2012. I was immediately struck by the universality of the themes dealt with – the passage of time, its mutations, the contrasts of nature… – and the feeling of quietude emerging from a search for perfection and ascesis: a quietude matured by experience and artisanal know-how.

The same feeling of artistic mastery gripped me later when I attended the inauguration of the exhibition last year at the Palace of Versailles. Having gained more thorough knowledge of Ahae’s art in the meantime through some remarkable books and catalogues retracing his career and reproducing his photographs with infinite care, I was more easily able to apprehend the different temporal spaces that intermingle in his work. I also had occasion to read some very interesting criticisms by specialists at major international periodicals, both French and European, who made the case for his artistic credibility far better than I ever could.

Meanwhile I had become acquainted with Ahae’s son, Keith Yoo. We soon shared musical moments. I also took him on a tour of the construction site of the Philharmonie de Paris, designed by the architect Jean Nouvel and located in the Parc de la Villette near the Cité de la Musique, which unfolds around a large symphony hall and numerous educational spaces. Keith showed great interest in the project, especially the intention of opening up classical music to young people and promoting today’s composers. Our cultural affinity and our closeness with musicians as talented as those of the London Symphony Orchestra led us to imagine that an Ahae exhibition could be held in the Philharmonie’s large public reception galleries and that several concerts in relation to nature and its artistic representations would give rise to a fruitful crossing of themes.

As was the case for the Louvre and Versailles exhibitions, the preparation of the project left nothing to chance. It has gradually taken shape over these past months around a shared desire to identify the most suitable approach, to make the best use of the setting, and to fit into the proposed spaces with harmony. I can bear witness that Keith displayed the utmost artistic exactingness and that his desire always to seek out the most apposite solution comes from a deep honesty and humility with respect to art and the public. These qualities are the foundation that allowed us to establish a relationship of trust.

In this difficult period of communication tied to the terrible drama of the Sewol ferry, I will not express myself on the manner in which Ahae and his art are perceived in South Korea as I am not familiar with that country’s social and cultural realities. On the other hand, certain commentaries emanating from French sources, isolated but relayed via the Internet, have questioned the legitimacy of the two exhibitions at the Louvre and Versailles on the pretext that these initiatives would never have come about without the quid pro quo of patronage by Ahae Press. Behind such accusations one has to read the denunciation of a cultural world that is supposedly complicit with market forces in promoting artists who are intrinsically undeserving.

The truth is quite different and, as is often the case, simpler to understand. I am not a specialist of the plastic arts, but I do have confidence in the judgment of the directors and curators of the Louvre, of the Palace of Versailles and of other similarly prestigious venues in Europe where Ahae’s exhibitions have been held with success. I also give credit to the numerous detailed, well-argued commentaries of the newspapers and press reviews that have favorably reported on his work. This is why the perspective of a partnership between eye and ear, between the works of Ahae and the less tangible ones of the creators of music immediately attracted my interest and I can say today that this project has been a source of stimulation for me over the course of the past few months.

I am proud of the dialogue that I have had with Keith Yoo in these months and I think that South Korea can be proud that an artist like Ahae conveys to the entire world artistic and humanistic values that rest on universal foundations.

May 19, 2014, 09:59:18 PM
Reply #9

Offline Peter

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Re: The Artist Formerly Known As AHAE
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2014, 09:59:18 PM »
Back to reality courtesy of CNN on April 29, 2014:
Quote
Meet the millionaire tied to South Korean ferry sinking probe

He's known as "the millionaire with no face." And South Korean officials apparently have questions for him.
Yoo Byung-un -- businessman, artist, ex-con and religious figure -- does not appear to have a direct financial stake in the Cheonghaejin Marine Co, which runs the ill-fated South Korean ferry Sewol. But South Korean media have reported that some believe he controls the company through two of his sons, who own stakes in the firm through subsidiaries.

Yoo's allies strongly deny his involvement. A release issued Friday by a public relations agency representing Yoo insists that he doesn't have anything to do with any company tied to the ferry disaster.

Michael Ham, managing director of Ahae Press, said he knows Yoo "has been spending every single day of the past four to five years focusing on his photography work," not directing any firm tied to the sunken ferry.
"I am dismayed at the media reports linking him to the Sewol incident and suggesting that he is directly responsible for this tragedy," Ham said. "These claims cannot be further from the truth."

Authorities searched Yoo's home this week, plus offices of the company that owns the ferry, prosecutors told CNN. The Ahae Press release notes Yoo's sons are among dozens subject to travel bans in light of the ferry incident, calling this "blanket approach ... standard for investigations by Korean regulators."
Investigators have also searched 20 of the ferry owner's affiliates and a religious organization linked to Yoo, according to the semiofficial Yonhap News Agency.

The religious group and a private organization that conducts ship safety investigations are also facing probes in the disaster, Yonhap reported.
Prosecutors are looking for evidence of wrongdoing that might have contributed to the Sewol disaster.
How Yoo fits into that picture remains murky.

Little is officially known about Yoo, who earned his nickname as "the millionaire with no face" by making few public appearances.
He was convicted on fraud charges in the 1990s and spent four years in prison for tax evasion. He also headed a now-defunct ferry company that operated on the Han River.

Yoo is now believed to be involved with the Evangelical Baptist Church, a Korean religious group founded by his father-in-law. It now has 20,000 members, according to Yonhap.

More recently, he assumed a new identity of sorts as a photographer and artist who goes by the name "AHAE." The news release out Friday indicates his work has gone on display in the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles.

A biography on Ahae.com says he has an interest in organic farming and also describes him as an entrepreneur who once designed ships that traveled the Han River.

True to Yoo's nickname, Ahae doesn't show his face on the website. He only appears from behind, photographing nature scenes in his trademark style -- out an open window of his South Korean studio.

According the website bio, Ahae was born in 1941 in Japan, where his family was during Japanese colonial rule of Korea. That would make him 72 or 73.
The biography describes Ahae as "an inventor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, environmental activist, martial artist, painter, sculptor, poet, and photographer."
"Ahae has been a conservationist all his life and has done everything within his power to ensure that his business activities do not conflict with his endeavors to maintain the purity of the natural world," the biography reads. "His focus on organic products is a natural extension of his concern for the environment, and the individual in particular."

May 19, 2014, 10:00:47 PM
Reply #10

Offline Peter

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Re: The Artist Formerly Known As AHAE
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2014, 10:00:47 PM »
And now back to the cult and its defenders:

Korea Should Be Proud of People like AHAE
Quote

Professor Milan Knížák / General Director, National Gallery, Prague (1999 - 2011)
From 1999 to 2011, I worked as the Director General of the National Gallery in Prague (which is one of the oldest Museums of Art, founded in 1796) and I was honored to organize a retrospective exhibition of the Korean artist AHAE, which was very successful.

I also put together an international team of specialists and created a representative publication showing the richness of AHAE’s personality titled the BOOK ON AHAE / So simple, so beautiful, so perfect published by KANT, 2012).

He is not only a photographer and poet but also an inventor, entrepreneur, scientist, philanthropist, ecologist and sportsman. But first and foremost, he is a remarkable artistic personality.

I want to emphasize his philanthrophy. I know many concrete cases where he has helped people to survive. In fact, his main goal is helping people to reach a full and rich life. And he does it with a great effort.

In his photographs, AHAE brings plain, unadorned observation of reality, trying not to deform anything he sees. The only personal feeling he adds to this is wonderment, and wonderment is something that cannot be found in contemporary art. Ahae is very unique with his purity.

After a series of exhibitions and presentations in a few European and American art museums and galleries his art became famous. Today Ahae belongs to a group of very few Korean artists who are widely known. One of them was my old friend and colleague Nam June Paik.

AHAE’S photographs are accepted as part of our global culture, but they didn’t become fashionable like (unfortunately) some of the objects of contemporary arts. AHAE’s artwork prices are valued at a reasonable level and never jumped too high. This is also a sign of AHAE’s strength, dignity and humbleness.

Korea should be proud of people like AHAE.

His personality is visible, high-minded but with deep touches of humility and revence for everything and everybody.

Professor Milan Knížák

General Director, National Gallery, Prague (1999 – 2011)

The AHAE Exhibition Held At Our Museum was Entirely Based Upon the Legitimacy of His Art and Nothing More
Quote

Milan Knížák / General Director, National Gallery, Prague (1999 - 2011)
This letter is offered to correct inaccurate statements that are being made concerning the Korean artist, AHAE, by the Korean press, and others, regarding his integrity and the value of his art.

I am extremely proud of the fact that I was privileged to discover AHAE in my role and capacity as Director General of the National Gallery in Prague, one of the oldest Museums of Art, founded in 1796. (I am currently a professor at Prague’s Academy of Fine Arts.) I served as the Director General of the National Gallery of Prague for over a decade, from 1999 to 2011.

It was during my tenure that I discovered AHAE, and his unique work and perspective. I was fortunate and honored to be able to organize a very successful exhibition of his art, along with a representative publication that was published thereafter by KANT, 2012.

AHAE was an unknown artist when I first came in contact with his photographs. When I first viewed his work I thought it they were just normal images of nature. However, as I started to look closer and closer I began to see things that I didn’t catch the first time. These feelings continued to stay with me and I felt that the photographs contained a kind of magic to them.

I made the decision (not only me but also my staff – a team of curators of modern and contemporary art collection under the guidance of section director Professor Tomáš Vlček) to host his exhibition at the National Gallery based on the impact his art had on me and that AHAE’s work had something special to them and deserved the opportunity to be seen by the world. This decision I made was independent from any discussion of a donation or conditions on hosting AHAE and his works.

While I say this with all humility, it is the duty and role of an established art museum to discover new artists and talents, and bring their visions and work to light. As a museum director, that was my goal and job—in bringing to light the perspective and vision of AHAE through his photography renowned the world over now.

Those who would seek to denigrate his art, or the value of his enterprise, know nothing of the art world and are ignorant of the true worth and talent of AHAE, whose renown is attributable to his talent and hard work.

Those who would also profess to denigrate the great museums of the world with base comments such as that they exhibit just for pay, know nothing of how art museums operate.

I am greatly bothered by the inaccurate reporting by the Korean media and others, daring to impugn AHAE’s integrity and artistic talent. There is absolutely no truth to any suggestion that either AHAE or the Art museum created his exhibition only because of a donation. Great museums do not operate as such. The AHAE exhibition held at our museum was entirely based upon the legitimacy of his art and nothing more.

I Invited AHAE to Present a New Set of Photographs Taken From the Same Window at the Palace of Versailles
Catherine Pégard / President of the Palace of Versailles

Quote
I remember my first meeting with the son of the Korean artist Ahae during the 2012 Louvre exhibition inauguration in the Jardin des Tuileries, at the invitation of Henri Loyrette. Mr. Yoo used simple words, filled with admiration, to describe his father’s unique work. He spoke about his own mission to reveal that work to people today who—caught up in the frenzy of modern-day life—do not have the time to stop and discover the world from a single window.

“Extraordinary in the ordinary,” Henri Loyrette said with the acuity of language that over the past twelve years has accompanied the strength of his choices made at the helm of the Louvre Museum.

From the same window, from dawn to dusk, every day of the year, Ahae embraces the world, and it is the infinitely small that provides the immensity of the landscape he offers us. And here, these seemingly insignificant details paint an entire fresco. Behind the modesty of the photographer’s gesture lies the extreme sophistication of poetic thought. The instant that blends with eternity.

This year, I invited Ahae to present a new set of photographs taken from the same window at the Palace of Versailles. The scenography designed by Guy Oliver at the Orangerie allows us to observe the unexpected beauty of Ahae’s world as the hours and seasons pass: “The extraordinary within the ordinary.”

This year, history calls on us to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the birth of André Le Nôtre. Ahae’s exhibition takes place—with a certain irony that is not unknown to him—during this year we are dedicating to the gardener of the King. Indeed, Ahae embodies his antithesis. While Le Nôtre dominates nature and molds it to suit the King’s will, Ahae lets himself be swept up into it, in all of its forms. On the other side of the world, from his own room, Ahae illustrates the words of Marcel Proust: “The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

And I have the pleasure of inviting you on this voyage. I would like to thank Keith Yoo for making it possible. Magical.


May 19, 2014, 10:02:27 PM
Reply #12

Offline Peter

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Re: The Artist Formerly Known As AHAE
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2014, 10:02:27 PM »
Just when I thought it couldn't get weirder, here's the symphony:
http://www.musicsalesclassical.com/news/2798
http://www.ahaeproducts.com/shop-by-product-type/media/michael-nyman-through-the-only-window-cd.html


Quote
News - Nyman Symphony No 6 premiere

Friday, September 06, 2013
On September 8 the London Symphony Orchestra will premiere a new orchestral work by Michael Nyman, Symphony No 6 ‘Ahae’. The composer will conduct the performance, which takes place at The Royal Opera of the Palace of Versailles, Paris. The symphony in four movements represents the four seasons in nature as depicted by the artist Ahae in his photographic work “Through My Window”. The piece will be performed to mark the end of an exhibition of wildlife photographs taken by the South Korean industrialist, known simply as Ahae. Several hundred of the 2.6 million images taken by Ahae have been on display; all photographs were taken from a first-floor window of Ahae’s home near Seoul, which he rarely leaves.

The new symphony is part of a major series of symphonies that Nyman is composing which are intended for premiere over the next two years in celebration of his 70th birthday. Symphony No 6 is due to be recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra for release at a later date.

Michael's music, which is quite nice, can be heard in this video. Correction: the music features a chamber piece Michael was commissioned to write for one of Ahae's exhibition.

Perhaps the music is helping Mr. Yoo relax during these troubled times.

The actual score for the symphony can be viewed here: http://www.musicsalesclassical.com/composer/work/49006

And a little more on the chamber piece, including excerpts from the score:
Quote
Description
Score commissioned by Mr. Keith H. Yoo to accompany the exhibition of Photography 'De Ma Fenetre' by Korean artist Ahae, held at the Jardin des Tuileries, Musee du Louvre, June 27th - August 26th 2012 and premiered at a Gala dinner in the exhibition pavillion on June 25th 2012.

May 19, 2014, 10:03:23 PM
Reply #13

Offline Peter

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Re: The Artist Formerly Known As AHAE
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2014, 10:03:23 PM »
Apparently www.god.com is owned by Ahae^^. That's quite a url to have. I bet there are about a million cults that would love to own that :) The poor JMS cult had to settle for http://god21.net/
Here's the source and a strange quote:
Quote
From God.com to photography, Korea ferry founder has diverse interests

SEOUL (Reuters) - The head of the South Korean family that operated the ferry which sank last week is a billionaire once jailed for fraud, a photographer who has held an exhibition at the Louvre under a pseudonym and the founder of a church which owns the website www.god.com.

At other times in his chequered past, Yoo Byung-un, in his 70s, has been a bankrupt and an inventor of household and health-related devices. He was investigated and cleared of complicity in the suicides of 32 members of his church in 1987. ...

Yoo was investigated in 1987 when 32 members of his church were found dead, bound and gagged in a factory near Seoul. He was not charged. Yoo denied that he had any involvement in the deaths in a magazine interview after his release from jail in the fraud case. "I feel really insulted just to think that people link me to the accident," Yoo said in the 1999 interview with monthly magazine Chosun.

"Do you know how I feel? I feel like I'm a woman living in a small village and one day you suddenly got sexually assaulted. This is really unfair but you can't talk about it to anyone in our (Korean) culture and there'll be just rumours getting out of control that you are the one who screwed up."

May 19, 2014, 10:05:55 PM
Reply #14

Offline Peter

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Re: The Artist Formerly Known As AHAE
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2014, 10:05:55 PM »
More music for AHAE:

http://ilaneshkeri.com/works/Ahae.asp
Quote
Through My Window: A Tone Poem in Twelve Parts
MUSIC INSPIRED BY THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF AHAE

Ilan has composed a symphonic work to be performed at a series of two outdoor concerts celebrating the 'Through My Window' exhibition of photographs by the artist AHAE.

Ilan was asked to compose a piece inspired by the artist's photographs, but whilst writing he became fascinated by the artist's process. In 3 years, he has taken 2 million photographs from 1 window.

The photographs will be on display in a specially built pavilion in the Jardin des Tuileries at the Louvre in Paris from the 27th of June.

The concerts will take place in the gardens next to the exhibition on the 3rd and 4th of July. The concerts are free and there is public seating and standing at the back - tickets available at the exhibition. This is the first time an outdoor exhibition and concert has been held at this location.

Ilan commented on his work: "I was inspired to compose a Tone Poem that depicts the artist’s day at work, not just his photos. I wanted the listener to be there with the artist, waiting patiently by the window and then being drawn into the moment when the subject he was photographing appeared. So the piece is made up of dramatic representations of the subjects (deer, birds, grass, clouds), interspersed with intimate melodies that describe the artist’s experience of sitting by the window from dawn until dusk throughout the seasons of the year."
Ilan, do the maths, 2 million photos in 3 years. That's a rate of 1.2 a minute for 3 years assuming no naps or toilet breaks or cult leading activities. All from the same window? In Seoul? No one in Seoul has views worth not going to the bathroom for 3 years.

http://www.jessicadannheisser.com/ahae-through-my-window/
Quote
Jessica is orchestrating a new large-scale work by the composer Ilan Eshkeri that was commissioned to accompany an exhibition of photography by Korean artist AHAE. The music will play alongside the exhibition in a specially-constructed pavilion outside the Louvre, Paris. The music is being recorded at Abbey Road Studios in advance so hat the public may listen to the recording as they view the works, and in addition there will be two concerts of the music play by full symphony orchestra outside the pavilion on the 3rd & 4th of July.
One of Mr Yoo's sons makes an appearance near the end of this video of the performance. I hope he enjoyed the concert; I don't think he'll be attending any more.

Again, nice music; shame about the patron.

A couple of photos from the Ilan's performance. Wow, that's some photography exhibit:

This one is interesting. It doesn't look like it was taken from the famous window: