Asian-born, London-based Hanna Moon and Joyce Ng respond to life in a globalised and interconnected world. Exploring the feeling of being “lost in translation” in a foreign city – their works, currently on display at Somerset House, London – visually articulate the experience of navigating multiple languages and spaces. By melding cultural signifiers, set design and styling, Moon and Ng offer a distinct interdisciplinary take on western aesthetics and ideals. In this way, the practitioners question notions of “otherness,” repositioning fashion photography as an agent for change.
The show – comprising new pieces commissioned for the gallery – expands across three bold and unconventional rooms designed by creative practice Studio Veronica Ditting. Offering a surprising and immersive viewing experience which encapsulates the mood of the series, audiences are invited into an imaginative world. First encountered is Moon’s Heejin and Moffy, a collection which plays with the House’s neoclassical architecture. Captured at night, the images depict two muses – Moffy, from London, and Heejin, from South Korea – as they take over the space.
Props and environments are also vital to Ng’s compositions, which feature street-casted models – in this case residents and visitors to the institution. Inspired by the 16th century Chinese novel Journey to the West – which chronicles the pilgrimage of a Buddhist monk – the body of work invites participants to become characters within a wider, fragmented narrative. Highlighting Moon and Ng’s varied approaches, English as a Second Language also looks into the duo’s archive, featuring visuals from publications such as Dazed and i-D. Fresh and inspiring, the featured images celebrate global perspectives – offering a new take on an established genre, asking what it can do next.
The exhibition runs until 28 April. Find out morehere.
Lead image: 2015. © Hanna Moon