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Koo Bohnchang (Korean, b.1953)
LOT ID: 80915
Soap 20, 2004

Pigment Print, Archival pigment print
52.4 х 43.3 in. (133.1 x 109.98 cm.)
Signed, titled, dated, and editioned on verso.
Lot description
Koo Bohnchang is a Korean photographer from Seoul. He began his working career far removed from the art world. Originally, he studied business administration at the Yonsei University in Korea, but was eventually compelled by his desire to produce art to make a career change. In keeping with this desire, he enrolled at the Fach Hoch Schule in Hamburg Germany, where he embarked on the study of photography and ultimately earned his fine arts degree from this institution. Since then, he has simultaneously produced art and filled teaching positions at a variety of schools including, the Kaywon School of Art and Design, Chung Ang University, Seoul Institute of the Arts, and the London Saint Martin School. Bohnchang has also authored two books one entitled Vessel and the other entitled Every Day Treasures. Bohnchang’s work has been the subject of many solo exhibitions around the world. Bohnchang currently presides as Chairman of the Geonhi Art Foundation in Korea and works as a professor in the Department of Photography and Video at Kyungil University.

Bohnchang’s works reveal his obsession with the finite. He allows for no convergence between the two extremes of the finite and the infinite. Instead, he uses this deep polarization of all things absorbed into the transitory to lend to his work a deep poignancy. His main theme is the transitory, the fleeting, the impermanent.

Bohnchang boasts a wide range of material in his photographic works. He often uses serialization as a means to meditate on the transitory nature of certain objects. For instance, in his series of soap images, Bohnchang elevates an ordinary object to something worthy of depiction. There is nothing particularly special about a soap bar, but Bohnchang uses this object as a conduit for exploring the notion of impermanence. The essential nature of soap is to disintegrate through use. Even though the soap does not outlast use, the photograph does. The photograph functions as a remnant of what cannot remain permanently intact. This being the case, there is an interesting paradox underlying this series of works. On the one hand, Bohnchang is directly confronting the finite nature of the world and on the other hand he is reinforcing the notion that art surpasses nature because it can transmit the impermanent into the realm of the permanent.

Soap 20 by Koo Bohnchang
  • Soap 20 by Koo Bohnchang
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