Human figures in Koh Sangwoo’s works are blue. We are used to saying of ‘skin color’. Yet those figures of blue skin mingle well with other objects in the works to create cinema-like, dreamy scenes. Koh Sangwoo is an artist who ‘reverses’ colors. In other words, various colors including the blue in the photographs are produced by reversing them in the printing process. The blue skin and the red, yellow, and purple colors contrast with each other intensely in his works to make the blue color more intense and surreal. For us, who are only accustomed to the outward appearance seen through our eyes or through the screen, the artist shows images of reversed colors to drive us to look for something under the surface, something behind the appearance.
The works of Koh Sangwoo contain a variety of feminine sentiments and beauty. The women in his works have a subtle smile with their eyes half closed, as if they are dreaming. Butterflies and flowers surrounding them maximize love, dream, and aspiration. The woman, surrounded by flowers holding her hands together and shyly putting them close to her face with her eyes closed, seems to express the ecstasy of falling in love. The work depicting a woman, who shyly holds a bunch of red roses turning her hair backward, transpires the trembling and fluttering of love that has just begun, which makes the audience thrilled in spite of themselves. Meanwhile, in the image of the mother embracing the child, we feel the love and responsibility of the mother for her child. The artist explores the intrinsic story of the model in each of his work and transfers it again to his works to tell the audience the story and share the genuine feelings.
Koh Sangwoo’s Boundaries of Senses series consists of self-portraits, in which he expressed his emotions in writing. Over the past few years, self-photographs have been a means for people from all walks of life to express themselves and reveal their individuality. By dividing his emotions into different areas and putting them in writing in his self-portraits, Koh expresses the invisible emotions to share with the audience so that they can have the experience of becoming one with the artist. With their reversed colors, Better Man and Walk With Me are inside-out expressions of the inner state and values of the artist lying deep in his heart. Koh did a double major in photography and performance art at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Perhaps this background explains why he carries out performance art in which he paints colors, writes texts on his face and poses for his self-portraits, and at the same time captures the moments with his photos, allowing him to recreate his self-portrait into a composite medium of art.
About the exhibition
Dates: Sep 15, 2017 – Nov 12, 2017
Venue: Asian Art Works
Courtesy of the artist and Asian Art Works, for further information please visit www.asianartworks.net.