Sang Woo Koh

About Artist: Koh Sang Woo creates vivid images of human figures with an approach that adopts painting, performance, documentation and traditional photographic techniques. The artist’s work is characterised by the development of a blue tone photograph that captures his subjects using negative film. The prints are the product of a labour intensive dialogue with his sitters who see the artist adorn their bodies with props such as butterflies and flowers. Most importantly, Sang Woo applies water-based paint with gentle brushstrokes across their body and hair. His sitters are presented in their own uncomplicated, pure world untarnished by material concerns or human vice. By reversing the colour and light in the exposure, he gives an unmistakable visual electricity and intense emotional charge. His work has been described as hyper-real romance for the digital age. At the heart of Koh Sang Woo’s practice is a paradox between reality and fiction, the biographical and the surreal, and a hybrid form between performance, painting and photography. The immediate visual impact of Sang Woo’s work leads one to believe his art practice is innocent and idealistic, but at the core of the artist’s philosophy is a hard line on how we respond to social and cultural obligations. He shows us the world in reverse, subverting the traditional processes not just of photography and paint, but also deconstructing the way in which we look at others and see ourselves.

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