Dadaism Club is challenging Seoul's art scene

Led by photographer Dasom Han, the collective is devoted to exploring the city's hidden taboos.

by You Kim
19 August 2020, 9:00am

Dadaism Club, led by Dasom Han, a 29-year-old photographer, stands on the front line of creative life in Seoul in 2020. It is both a collective and a platform with a wide range of activities, including the Dadapic Showroom, which transforms photography into consumable items like T-shirts, a documentary featuring Korean indie band Hyukoh, and a fashion brand, Jichoinet.

Dasom Han, Dadaism Club​, photography, Korea, Asia

Dadaism's identity is centred around the polarisation the young art scene in Seoul. Dasom says "There was no dramatic moment [as to] how I started my path. But I have always been a little rebellious, and in this age of extremism that we grew up in, I was shaped by big and small things from daily life.” She continues, “While the scene is growing and changing rapidly, its social taboos have lagged behind. Underneath the charming and shiny surface of Seoul, there are hidden taboos, ranging from subtle generation gaps to extreme collective hate.”

Dasom Han, Dadaism Club​, photography, Korea, Asia

In a 2019 Gucci campaign, photographed by Dasom, people of various ages skate together, not conforming to the the stereotype of luxury brands. While all the subjects are women, it doesn't present them as the image of femininity, but rather focuses more on the human connection between the subjects; something important but easily forgotten. Dasom says, "When I was younger, I used to turn down projects if I didn’t believe in [them], but as time went by, I realised I can mould what I believe into my work, and let it speak for itself. Using everyday women in their natural stage is quite perfect to express what I want. These choices are what we have been making for Dadaism Club.” All the other projects created by the group, such as Dada Bookshelf and Dada Service, are in a similar vein. The guiding principle when curating the books, pieces of music and T-shirts under the umbrella of Dadaism Club is that they follow what the Club believe is right, and also speaks for a Dadaism club’s identity.

Dasom’s photographs have room for multiple interpretations other than the subject's appearance. Her photos of the members of Hyukoh with cute stickers on their bodies channel a touch of nonchalance, despite the seriousness of older musicians from the 90s. Some of her other images challenge masculinity, using colourful eyeliners on adult men. There are flashes of unpolished ingredients scattered throughout the images, from the autumn sun that drenches hands, watches, and skateboards, to the sound of them chatting away at nightfall while sitting on a skateboard.

Dasom’s images are like the glitch before a perfect digital image appears on your screen. Their photographs beg the question of what really makes a product, brand, or a person.

Dasom Han, Dadaism Club​, photography, Korea, Asia
Dasom Han, Dadaism Club​, photography, Korea, Asia
Dasom Han, Dadaism Club​, photography, Korea, Asia
Dasom Han, Dadaism Club​, photography, Korea, Asia
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Dadaism Club​
Dasom Han