(B. 1978)
Portrait of a Couple; & Heaven, Earth and Sisters
signed with artist's signature; numbered and dated '1/3 2008' (on the reverse of each work)
two chromogenic print on diasec
each: 150.9 x 106.4 cm. (59 3/8 x 42 in.) (2)
edition 1/3
Executed in 2008 (2)
Beijing, China, 798 Beijing Biennale, 15 August-12 September 2009 (different edition of Heaven, Earth and Sisters exhibited).

Sale room notice
Please note the correct dimensions of the work should be:
150.9 x 106.4 cm. (59 3/8 x 42 in.) each

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Lot Essay

Koh Sang Woo's photographs from a distance emerge as wondrous currents of electric colours, stirring an aesthetic magnetism akin to commercial advertisements and neon lights of billboards, with his subject matter embedding further this seeming commerciality with attractive motifs of young females and couples in nude and entangled embrace. However, his works run deeper than its gripping exterior - as with intimacy shown in photographs, viewers read his visual poem of love, where Koh's hopelessly romantic wish to extract the deeply rooted internal emotion on to the exterior is felt.

Portrait of a Couple and Heaven Earth & Sisters (Lot 1341) are captured in reverse, their identity diffused in blistering contrast and described in brash abstraction; the two figures in each photograph are nevertheless harmonized in loving embrace and in symbolic unity. Exhibiting his painterly sensibility, Koh signifies the ethereal existence of his protagonists through atmospheric brushstrokes of aquatic blue, luminous purple and blazing yellow throbbing in luminosity under the darkness of negative photography. The smudges of paint ostensibly appear untamed but are all premeditated in his fluid manipulation of textural and colour conversion, staged in great theatricality to extract an aesthetic outcome that best expresses his understanding of inner beauty.

As Koh strives to define the true meaning and value of love, he exploits photography's ability to document in order to impress an image closest to reality, regardless of its superficial quality in replicating the physical representation of the subject matter. Compromising its limited qualities, Koh adds consecutive processes of paint, performance and photography, inverting the positive and negative of the image 'because I am inverting myself, I invert the colour of image and I also invert male and female, as well as Eastern and Western culture, I am inverting reality and fantasy too.'

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