Eui-Jip Hwang (b. 1994, South Korea) is a visual artist who lives and works in New York City. Employing documentary and fictional narratives, Hwang creates a portrait of society by utilizing various methods of image making. His usage of photography carries the visuals of advertising to question a consumer’s wants. In 2017, he received a BFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York.
Live Your Dream
South Korea is taking the lead role in molding East Asian beauty ideals. In modern day S. Korea, the subconscious appreciation of the Eurocentric beauty standard has birthed a byproduct—an industry and national obsession with cosmetic care and appearance-altering plastic surgery. The products and procedures are affordable and readily accessible to the average Korean. Now, it is an aspirational necessity for both the male and female youth. By receiving facial contouring surgeries, colored contacts, skin treatments, and applying face whitening products, the society agrees that a person can become one step closer to their dream of higher social status.
The project utilizes different methods of appropriation and photography. Through rejuvenating the archives of before-and-after images, plastic surgeons’ portfolios, and advertisements, the project investigates and characterizes the new modified Koreanness. By mixing the yellow undertones of Korean skin and the pink undertones of Caucasian skin, a shade of peach is created. It is an ideal man-made skin color of modern Koreans today. Likewise, Korean facial aesthetics do not mirror or duplicate but blend in with the dominant culture. They are a heightened and generalized interpretation of how Koreans perceive Caucasians. The project represents the Korean gaze and desire beyond gender and sexuality.
To view more of Eui-Jip’s work please visit his website.