Prof. Milan Knížák / Former General Director of National Gallery, Prague
This immensely simple, but at the same time enormously rich view of the world through a single window of the house of the Korean photographer, inventor and entrepreneur Ahae has quite overwhelmed me.
I am relatively well acquainted with contemporary photography, which has almost given up on any observation of the world and, for the most part, concentrates on carefully arranged or carefully selected and highly sophisticated “social motifs” which interpret the world chiefly in a slightly vulgar, semi-intellectual language. In the midst of this torrent of joyless and even traumatic photographs, Ahae’s tribute to the world outside his window is direct and uncomplicated; one might say normal. I emphasise the word “normal” because I perceive it in the most fundamental sense. This normal, everyday world contains a great deal of magic, which we can discover through careful observation. And Ahae is this careful observer. It is almost with passion that he utilises perfect photographic technique to capture the most intimate changes in the world beyond his window. My use of the word “world” is intentional, because when I look at Ahae’s photographs, I have the feeling that I am seeing a whole world, albeit one in which no people live. Ahae’s photographs are a tribute to nature, but they do not contain any embarrassing or empty ecological slogans; they merely show how the world actually is: delicate and magnificent, modest and courageous, and always sublime.
This exhibition shows only a small section of the photographer’s work. Ahae could, in fact, organise hundreds of such exhibitions, so many are the views he has captured through this window. It is also for this reason that it is not necessary to select particular photographs; each of them has its own meaning, while at the same time blending in as part of the whole. Through his window Ahae sees everything that forms part of life. If I really believed in God, I would say that Ahae, through his unassuming photographs, is celebrating God the Creator.