Korea Should Be Proud of People like AHAE

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 beautifulso 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.

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Professor Milan Knížák

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