Koh Sang Woo - portrait

Koh Sang Woo

Korea, Republic Of 1978

Performance Art, Photography, Body Art


Koh Sang Woo
Koh Sang Woo
Korea, Republic Of
March 21, 2016

Recognizable by the blue tone photograph that captures his subject using negative film, Koh Sang Woo is a visual artist who consolidates photography, performance, and painting. His work is a result of dialogue with the model. The Decoration of their bodies and hear with flowers and butterflies and painting them with brush strokes is a part of performance and preparation for photographing. His subjects are completely revealed, represented in their essential purity. Change of the color and the light in exposure gives them intense visual and emotional charge. Woo gives us the opportunity to see the world in reverse, to reconsider the way in which we look at others and understand ourselves.

Beauty in the First Place

By capturing emotion with his camera, Woo explores the relations between people, their connections and passions. Reconsidering the paradox between reality and fiction, he puts the norms of beauty in the first place. He is finding his inspiration in Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Andy Warhol’s work, considering them the artists who moved the limits of their time. Using the photography as optical fact, the medium which shows the reality of the moment, he complements it with painting, trying to transfer out his inner emotions. Although Woo’s work involves the new technologies, his artwork is not purely digital and not entirely relying on Photoshop. He is feeling the connection to his models and expressing emotions is not possible to do just with a computer program.

Woo explores the relations between people

Koh Sang Woo Portrait of a couple
Koh Sang Woo – Portrait of a couple, 2008

Emotional Charge

Koh Sang Woo graduated with School of Art Institute of Chicago in 2001, he double-majored in Photography and Performance Art. Working in both mediums at the same time allowed him to explore the relation between captured moment and movement. He thinks that photography is lacked by emotion and that its combination with performance is the only way that right message gets to the audience. Koh Sang Woo has exhibited widely worldwide and was listed in 2013 as one the 100 most important Korean contemporary artists. He has participated in various international fairs such as Armory Show, Armory Photography, Pulse Miami, Scope New York, Art Chicago, ACAF NY, CIGE Art Fair. Koh’s works are held in various collections worldwide.

The color in his work has the strong emotional expression

Koh Sang Woo - Boundaries of Sense (Left) - My Choice II (Right)
Koh Sang Woo – Boundaries of Sense, 2016 (Left) / My Choice II, 2016 (Right)

Pioneer of the Blue Photography

Always thinking outside the box and challenging his own creativity in using new mediums, Koh Sang Woo creates vivid images of human figure enriched with the idealized version of pure love. Using the visual languages, he reconsiders the social issues of differences, like cultural, racial and sexual. His creativity is too engaged and dynamic to be able to classify his work in any one specific genre. The colors in Woo’s work are mysterious and lyrical with strong emotional expression. The stunning contrasts of blue, yellow and orange displace these scenes on some higher level of consciousness. Intimate and public at the same time, depicting environment of a fantasy, Woo’s translate his own mood and passion into every piece of his work.

Koh Sang Woo is represented by The Cat Street Gallery.

Koh Sang Woo lives and works in New York.

Featured image: portrait of the artist
All images courtesy of the artist

YearExhibition titleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2011 The Burning Flowers The Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kongsolo
2011 KSW Solo Project Korean Art Show, New Yorksolo
2011 Pretty Powerful Gallery Sun Contemporary, Seoulsolo
2011 KSW Solo Project AHAF 2011, Seoulsolo
2011Art of PartyLancaster Museum of Art, Pennsilvaniagroup
2011From Desire to Sublime Homa Museum of Art, Seoulgroup
2011Signal 8, Salon Exhibition The Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong group
2011ART HK 2011 Hong Kong International Art Fair, Hong Konggroup
2011Wanderkarmer James Freeman Gallery, London group
2011New Thinking New Possibility H-Art Gallery, Hyundai Motor, Seoul group
2011AHAF 2011, Special Exhibition Bold & Beautiful, Seoul group
2011Christie's Hong Kong Asian Art Auction, Hong Kong group
2011The Rover Soho KSW Performance, New York group
2011UnknownSan Francisco Fine Art Fair, San Franciscogroup
2010Koh Sang Woo James Freeman Gallery, London solo
2010 Koh Sang Woo Solo Exhibition Sesame Gallery, London, Englandsolo
2010Media Media Queens Museum of Art, New York group
2010Internalle Exhibition Sungkok Museum of Art, Seoul group
2010Korean Art Show International Art Festival, New York group
2010AHL Foundation Auction Arario Gallery, New York group
2010The Metamorphsis Other Gallery, Shanghai, China group
2010ART HK 2010 HongKong International Art Fair, Hong Kong group
2010Signal 8, Salon Show Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong group
2010UnknownSan Francisco International Art Fair, San Francisco group
2010UnknownSeoul Open Art Fair 2010, Coex, Seoul group
2010Wunderkamer Sesame Gallery, London group
2009 Koh Sang Woo Solo Exhibition Gallery Sun Contemporary, Seoulsolo
2009 Koh Sang Woo Solo Exhibition Busan Art Center, Busansolo
2009 Koh Sang Woo, Spotlight ARTO Art Fair, Busansolo
2009798 BEIJING BIENNAL International Biennal, T-Art Center, Beijing group
2009CHRISTIE'S LONDODistinctively Korea, Londongroup
2009CHRISTIE'S HONGKONG Asian Contemporary Art, HongKonggroup
2009ASIAN AUCTION WEEK IN HONGKONG K-Auction, Conrad hotel, Hong Konggroup
2009KIAF 2009 Korea International Art Fair, Coex, Seoulgroup
2009PHILLIPS DE PURY & COMPANY White Box 10 Years Anniversary, New Yorkgroup
2009SCOPE NEW YORK International Contemporary Art Fair, Lincoln Center, New Yorkgroup
2009TALENT PREVIEW 2009 White Box, New York group
2009BACKROOM Frederieke Taylor Gallery, New York group
2009PHOTOSEOUL 2009 International Art Fair, Coex, Seoul group
2009COLORIST KAIST Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology, Seoulgroup
2009Unknown ULSAN International Photography Festival, Ulsangroup
2008 Korea Contemporary Art Festival Hangaram Museum, Seoulsolo
2008ACAF NEW YORK Asian Contemporary Art Fair New York, Pier 92, New York group
2008SPOTLIGHT ACAF NEW YORK, Pier 92, New Yorkgroup
2008SIPF 2008 Seoul International Photo Festival, Seoul group
2008KIAF 2008 Korea International Art Fair 2008, Coex, Seoulgroup
2008YIAF 2008 Yeosu International Art Fair 2008, Yeosugroup
2008BEYOND DEFINITION Interalia Art Company, Seoul group
2008BODY EXTENSION The Columns Project Gallery, Seoulgroup
2008THE NEGATIVE IMAGGyeong-Gido Museum of Art, Gyeong-Gido group
2008THE FACE Gallery Private Collection, Seoulgroup
2008PHOTO PHOTO Gallery Sun Contemporary, Seoulgroup
2008GALLERY COLLECTION Gallery Sun Contemporary, Seoulgroup
20082X13 COLLECTION Iroom Gallery, Pajugroup
2008ILLUSION 2x13 Gallery, Seoul group
2007 ACAF NY, Asian Contemporary Art Fair 2X13 Gallery, New Yorksolo
2007Koh Sang Woo Solo Exhibition 2X13 Gallery, Seoulsolo
2007Korea Contemporary Art Festival Hangaram Museum, Seoulsolo
2007ACAF NEW YORK Asian Contemporary Art Fair New York, Pier 92, New Yorkgroup
2007NEW YORK Contemporary Korean Artists, Hangaram Museum, Seoul Art Centergroup
2007FRESH ILLUSIONS AHL Foundation, White Box, New Yorkgroup
2007REFLECTION 2x13 Gallery, New York group
2007SAJIN: FACE OF YANUS Touch Art Gallery, Heyri Art Village, Gyeong-Gidogroup
2007CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY Artbit gallery, Seoul group
2006 Koh Sang Woo Solo Exhibition 2X13 Gallery, New Yorksolo
2006SIPA SEOUL INTERNATIONAL PRINT & PHOTO ART FAIR Hangaram Museum, Seoul Art Centergroup
2006MERRY CHRISTMAS, HOLIDAY AUCTION Helen Mills Theater, New Yorkgroup
2006REFLECTION 2x13 Gallery, New York group
2006FIVE SYLLABLE STANZA Hun Gallery, New Yorkgroup
2005 KSW Solo Project CIGE 2005 China World Trade Center, Beijingsolo
2005SELF-PORTRAITS Carl Hammer Gallery, Chicagogroup
2005MERRY CHRISTMAS Gallery Sun Contemporary, Seoul group
2005THE WIND Missouri University, Columbusgroup
2005EYE OF CAMERA Ward Nasse Gallery, New York group
2004ARMORY SHOW International Contemporary Art Fair, New Yorkgroup
2004CHRISTIE'S NEW YORK Photography Auction, New Yorkgroup
2004CHRISTIE'S NEW YORK In-House Auction, New Yorkgroup
2004EYE OF CAMERA Ward Nasse Gallery, New Yorkgroup
2004PHOTO LA International Photography Art Fair, Los Angeles group
2003ARMORY PHOTOGRAPHY The International Art Fair, New Yorkgroup
2003OPEN YOUR EYES Maronieer Art Center, The Korean Culture & Arts Foundation, Seoulgroup
2003ART CHICAGO The International Art Fair, Chicagogroup
2003MARCH MADNESS Bottom Feeders Gallery, New York group
2002ARMORY PHOTOGRAPHY The International Photography Art Fair, New Yorkgroup
2002THE ARMORY SHOW The International Art Fair, New Yorkgroup
2002ART CHICAGO International Art Fair, Chicagogroup
2002ASIAN PHOTOGRAPHY 20 Gallery Surge, Kinza group
2001 Koh Sang Woo The Korean Culture & Arts Foundation: Insa Art Space, Seoul solo
2001EXPLORING FUTURE STARS Carl Hammer Gallery, Chicagogroup
2001MISS AMERICA, MAX MARA, Art Window Project The School of Art Institute of Chicagogroup
2001ART TECH, THE NEXT GENERATION OF ART Jean Albano Gallery, Chicagogroup
2001MICROWAVE MEDIA ART FESTIVAL International Media Art Festival, Hong Konggroup
2000MISS AMERICA Graduation Exhibition, Gallery 2, Chicagogroup
2000FROM ADAM TO ATOM New York Studio Program Gallery, New Yorkgroup
2000JET PROPELLED, SUMMER SOLSTICE Museum of Contemporary of Art, Chicagogroup
2000BODY LANGUAGE Gallery X, The School of Art Institute of Chicagogroup