Gender, culture, isolation, prejudice, and stereotypes are explored in the work of Korean photographer Chan-Hyo Bae (born 1975, Busan, South Korea). Since graduating from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2007, Chan-Hyo Bae has expressed in his work the feelings of cultural and emotional estrangement he experienced when he first came to study in England. Several series with the title Existing in Costume (2007-16) saw him posing in a variety of female historical western costumes, integrating himself into a history and society from which he felt excluded. Researched in meticulous detail, he created elaborate scenes of himself as a noblewoman from Elizabethan to Regency periods.
More recent work in the Existing in Costume series has drawn further on the idea of placing oneself into a collective consciousness within the dimensions of nationality. Chan-Hyo Bae has chosen as his subject Tudor history as well as the realms of western fairytales: stories that have permeated our culture and become embedded into our general psyche.
In his new series, Jumping Into, Chan-Hyo Bae places himself at the centre of paintings from the collection of the National Gallery in London by celebrated western painters, Titian, Rubens and de Beer. He has selected paintings of Christian or Mythological subject. His historical impersonations enter the realm of the surreal, as the artist sets himself into a newly crafted animal skin patchwork painting. The paint seems to be cracking, disappearing in parts, as the artist pastes in the layers of his new composition.