Open until 28 April 2019, Hanna Moon & Joyce Ng: English As A Second Language at Somerset House showcases the work of two of the most exciting photographers working in fashion today, celebrating the vitality and importance of fresh perspectives within fashion photography in our globalised and interconnected world. Employing an otherworldly and playful approach to their practice, Moon and Ng incorporate cultural signifiers, set design and fashion to present their unique take on Western aesthetics and fashion ideals. Bringing distinct Asian perspectives to their work, they challenge the concept of ‘otherness’ and reflect upon the power fashion photography holds in shaping our perceptions of beauty, style and taste.
For English as a Second Language Moon and Ng have created two new series of photography works, responding directly to the historical setting of Somerset House. Moon presents a dramatic reimagining of Somerset House’s neoclassical backdrop. She captures imagery of her two muses; Moffy, from London, and Heejin, from South Korea, in the dark of night, rebelliously ‘invading’ the site to create a series of intimate works, featuring bespoke sets and objects that reflect her personal experiences living in the UK.
Ng uses street-casted models, natural environments and props to create images which feel both familiar yet surreal. Drawing inspiration from the renowned sixteenth century Chinese novel Journey to the West, Ng has cast models solely from the vibrant community at Somerset House, inviting visitors and residents to become characters in a fragmented narrative through the hidden and public spaces of the building.
Curated by Shonagh Marshall, the exhibition explores the artists’ feelings of being ‘lost in translation’, a feeling which, as artists living in a foreign city navigating different languages and shifting landscapes, informs Moon and Ng’s search for capturing beauty in the often overlooked and unseen narratives in our everyday lives. The show also invites viewers to explore works from Moon and Ng’s fashion photography archive from the past four years, featuring work from publications such as Dazed, i-D, Modern Weekly, Centrefold, Re-Edition, M Le Magazine du Monde, Modern Matter, 1 Granary and David Casavant Archive Book.
Feature image: You Are My Lucky Baby Pear for Modern Weekly, 2018. Joyce Ng (via Somerset House)