Nana & Felix (Hwanhee Kim b. 1980 and Felix Nybergh b. 1985) are Korean-Finnish artist duo, working on photography-based projects. By combining the languages of photography and conceptual art, they address social and political issues. Their main interest lies in exploring the mechanisms of the simplistic and standardized worldview offered to us by visual propaganda systems, such as those employed by the commercial media and state institutions.
Both Nana & Felix graduated MA in Photography at Aalto University and their works has been shown at galleries in Finland, UK and South Korea. The artist duo’s projects has been also supported by many cultural foundations such as Kone Foundation and Incheon Art Platform (South Korea) Their works are in collection at City of Turku. They are currently working both in Helsinki, Finland and South Korea.
THE ZONE SYSTEM (2014 - )
Photography-based project by Nana & Felix
“It is not a matter of the passport matching you, but of you matching the passport.”
In this project, we study Photography as an institutional tool used to register, categorize and label people. We put our attention on how, despite of positive globalist discourses, we humans are still governed by age-old hierarchical (and to large extents racist) power structures. The works build upon the historical origins of the official photograph. By producing caricatures of early law enforcement photography (such as passport photos, mug shots, and facial composites) we aim to question both the foundations of this practice as well as the limits of photographic representation.
The project consists of three works:
THE ZONE SYSTEM is an installation of 35 digital display (slideshows). This digital greyscale-grid is based on American photography-pioneer Ansel Adam ́s technical zone system. In addition to the photographical greyscale (the technical steps reaching from pure black to pure white) we add a “human” greyscale, reaching from the darkest skin to the lightest. This results in the various faces being “correctly” exposed at different intensities of light and so categorizes the models into different compartments of the grid; “the system”.
*A video clip of “The Zone System” can be viewed at http://www.nana-felix.com/thezonesystem/the-zone-system/
Nana & Felix: The Zone System, 2013-2014, installation (photo: Timo Nieminen).
KANTA|VÄESTÖ (Original|Population) is a diptych sculpture (total 236 individually cut out passport-photographs) made in response to the idea behind the positivist use of photography in 19th century criminological and eugenic studies. The work is not intended to mimic the composite pictures (famously produced by Francis Galton), which were meant to create one portrait out of various superimposed images. Our sculptures, on the other hand, are formed out of endless small fragments and so borrow the appearance of Galton ́s endeavor, while emphasizing the impossibility of it.
Nana & Felix: KANTA|VÄESTÖ (Original|Population), 2013-2014,
a detail from the diptych (photo: Timo Nieminen).
FACIAL COMPOSITE consists of twelve portraits of us, Nana & Felix. For this piece we produced a questionnaire mimicking the identification methods used by law enforcement agencies worldwide. Twelve participants were asked to answer the questionnaire describing the facial features of the artists. These questionnaires were then turned in to text-based portraits. By erasing the photograph from the process of identification, we want to underline the highly unreliable factor behind every photograph; the human mind and subjective judgement.
Nana & Felix: Facial Composite, 2013-2014, installation (photo: Timo Nieminen).