2004 – 2006 De Ateliers (Amsterdam / NL)
2002 Kaywon School of Art and Design (Seoul / KR)
1999 – 2003 Gerrit Rietveld Academie (Amsterdam / NL)
Aram Tanis’ Ji Hyun Song is the horizontal concentration of urban space, multi-lane motorways, huge parking lots, and office and residential high-rises in Korea’s capital, Seoul. For all the sober distance of the shots, the images retain a subtext that correlates to the autobiographical, distancing view and in fact attempts to express something like alienation in visual terms. Tanis was actually born in Korea but grew up in The Netherlands.
Tanis articulates this ambivalence between fascination and the feeling of being foreign with his view of contemporary Seoul, as he focuses on the surface of things. The immense size of the city, with its 16 million inhabitants and buildings that largely seem Asian, not to mention urban development in Korea in general – these are the topic and horizon of his approach to what is an unknown country to which he is nevertheless biographically linked, one that in part bears the seal of a non-location and of the resulting loss of the social.
Tanis’ photographs of Seoul compositionally present the dynamism of the large city. His photographs address not only the far-reaching absence of inhabitants in this city as well as the metropolis in which people remain anonymous and lead anonymous lives.