Ha Tae-Bum’s “White” series, started in 2008, begins with photographic images from the mainstream media depicting sites of conflict or crisis. The artist eliminates human presence, miscellaneous details, and all color from the images, then “rebuilds” them into quiet, achromatic models with thin white paper. Once complete, the models are photographed in a nearly identical composition as the original image. Terrorist attack International University Islamabad, Pakistan (2010) depicts the aftermath of the 2009 International Islamic University suicide bombing in Islamabad. Here the color white symbolizes lost memory of the sympathy and the covering of the fear. Artificially transformed, the casted buildings and scene appear dreamy, fixed in time, and aesthetically attractive. The Palestine Wall depicts the structure separating Israel from the West Bank, a barrier that restricts the movement of people and goods to the other side. The visual and semantic distinctions surrounding its meaning and dimensionality are stark, pointing to the power that pictures and their linguistic counterparts have to both inform and elude.
Ha Tae-Bum (b. 1974, lives in South Korea) was trained as a sculptor in South Korea and Germany. His practice spans photography, sculpture, performance, installation, and animation. Ha’s work often reflects on the force of social conceptions such as discrimination and shame.