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Koo Jeong A

Koo Jeong A

Koo Jeong A is an acclaimed mixed-media and installation artist whose work explores and evokes the poetics of the everyday. Often site-specific and highly ephemeral, Koo’s work draws on the histories of performance and Conceptual art to subtly question and deconstruct our sense of reality and imaginary existing as distinct realms.

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NEWS

Koo Jeong A Brings Korea’s Smells and Stories Into Focus in Venice

Koo Jeong A Brings Korea’s Smells and Stories Into Focus in Venice

Vogue · 30 Apr, 2024 @ 14:26

Koo Jeong A sought to answer that question in the Korean Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale. Which scents capture a nation’s past? The result was “Odorama Cities".

hansulrichobrist

hansulrichobrist

Instagram · 17 Apr, 2024 @ 21:12

Koo Jeong A. Odorama Cities. Curated by Seolhui Lee & Jacob Fabricius. #odoramacities #koojeonga @labiennale #koreanpavilion @koojeonga.

 

About the Artist

Koo Jeong A is an acclaimed mixed-media and installation artist whose work explores and evokes the poetics of the everyday. Often site-specific and highly ephemeral, Koo’s work draws on the histories of performance and Conceptual art to subtly question and deconstruct our sense of reality and imaginary existing as distinct realms.

Born in Seoul, South Korea in 1967, Koo studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and has been exhibiting her work around the world since the early 1990s. Koo’s art frequently incorporates materials and objects that are seemingly ordinary, yet she transforms them into poignant artworks with a remarkable preciseness that draws out their most evocative potential. Koo's treatment of the most discreet and commonplace aspects of our world with reverence reframes them as opportunities for discovery. A sense of childlike wonder is a key component of Koo’s works, an element so important that she has developed a term for it: ‘ousss’.

This relationship between the viewer and the materials before them is key for Koo, who sees art as a deep convergence of multiple energies, with the viewer tapping into collective knowledge and the most fundamental aspects of our universe. Koo’s interest in the void and the eternal renders both art and viewer as existing in a perpetually dynamic energetic state. This is particularly true for her large, outdoor sculptures and public artworks like the ‘Glow in the Dark Skatepark’ series. These self-illuminating, immersive artworks exist infinitely and independently of human interaction, demonstrating Koo’s conception that artworks are liberated beings existing across time and space.

The importance of the eternal is also evident in Koo's installations, in which architectural space is transformed through her incorporation of a wide range of media including digital projections, sound, aromas, film, sculpture, and painting that envelop viewers. Each installation is tailored to its setting, with Koo considering and drawing upon the unique energies that exist between people and place. They open ‘narrative portals’ that enable viewers to engage with diverse themes, from human cognition and our transient approach to the natural environment, to Taoist philosophy and the science of Qi.

Often, Koo’s means of intervening in the gallery space are so subtle as to be nearly imperceptible, consisting merely of a sudden change of illumination within the space and the use of materials that are already present, such as the dust on the floor. Natural phenomena become mediums in themselves, reinforcing the idea of eternal, intertwining energies, with gravity, light, and wind playing roles in the experience. The artist often secretly intervenes or makes herself undetectably present over the course of an artwork’s installation. In her exhibition Unfinished History at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1998), for example, Koo hid in a small shelter in a corner of the gallery during the exhibit’s installation. When the exhibition opened and the shelter was removed, Koo left behind a new artwork titled Humpty Dumpty made from papier mâché that she had used to fill the gallery corner.

Such traces of the artist, like the traces of energetic forces, convey the sense of something unseen and imbues Koo’s works with a quiet resonance. Such forces are everywhere and nowhere all at once, exemplified by Koo’s conviction that she ‘lives and works everywhere’. The ordinary becomes extraordinary in Koo’s eternally vibrating artistic cosmos, in which the interconnectedness between art, viewer, space, and time are rendered exquisitely clear.

Interested in Koo Jeong A?