Under · Ground: Subway Line 2, Either as an Open or Closed Space

Kim So-hee (Independent Curator)


Son Eunyoung has been taking pictures of the Seoul subway for the past year. Her work especially focused on Line 2, out of the nine subway lines, which circulates in an oval shape right in the center of Seoul, and passes through all 50 sections between stations that are running above and below the ground. As someone mentioned, "The subway is like a blood stream in a city’s body," and her photographs, which depict the scene viewed from the front of the subway, generate an impression of exploring “cold veins that are made of concrete.“


Through the exhibition, she will also present a work of video that seems like running toward a vanishing point which constantly resets itself from a faraway distance. The spatial relations that keep changing based on the speed of the running railway are experienced through a process involving both the disappearance of the existing space and the expectation for a future space that has to come. A new visual experience and the sense of space that we were not able to acquire although we have been traveling by subway for so long, are made possible only when we get the privilege to sit “next to the engineer.“ The unique feeling of slipping from the underground to the ground or the other way around, could be compared to the feeling Persephone (a character in Greek mythology who was carried off by Hades for picking up a daffodil, who had to live one-third of the year in the underground world, and two-thirds on the ground) had when she was passing through the cave (tunnel) that served as a gateway to the two worlds, couldn’t it be?


Son also emphasized the sense of alienation and loneliness of modern people who are exhausted by the pace of life through a series of her work titled ”The Underground.” The pieces of portraits remind us of the paintings of Edward Hopper, who illustrated the solitude of the urban people in public places such as trains, hotels, and theaters. The implication of her exhibition is thought to be associated with the attempt to visualize through photography the psychological space, in other words the visibility and the invisibility of the city, that we did not observe, or could not observe in the subway, which is a space that symbolizes the daily life of modern people.

<About the Artist>


Graduated from Ewha Women’s University, Department of Occidental Painting, organized the solo exhibition “City Wall Painting” at Gallery Lux in 2011, and participated in numerous group exhibitions including “Wild Herb” at Topohaus, and “Shooting the Today of Seoul” at SeMA warehouse in 2017