My name is Egene Koo. I am a painter, born and lives in Seoul, South Korea.
I have been doing oil and acrylic paintings. I’ve just finished my third solo exhibition titled ‘Neverending Childhood’, which was about mental child who never grows up in human mind.
Many of my paintings started from old stories like ‘fairy tales’. Basically, I’m interested in the connection between the past and the present. Old but never-ending stories remind us of something fading away from contemporary lives due to the ill-balanced aspects. When I meet some appealing scenes from old stories, I feel like that they lead me to listen carefully and find something inside. Working with old stories is rather like discovery or excavation. In this sense, my painting becomes a reinterpretation of stories. Most of the chosen stories are connected with my own interest in human mentality. On this point, I’m quite influenced by the basic ideas of C.G.Jung’s analytical psychology.
For visual part, I have been inspired by old and delicate paintings. For long time, I’ve been fascinated by the Flemish masters like Hans Memling, Jan Van Eyck, Rogier Van der Weyden, Lucas Cranach and so on. At the same time, my interest is moving into old Korean and other Asian Paintings as well, so I’m expecting some changes and new harmonies from different sources.
I’m trying to make a harmonious coexistence of different elements. Comedy and tragedy, beauty and ugliness, warmth and coldness, good and evil……they always come together. No stories and no lives could be described with one single clear word. There’s no obvious common answer in life. I want my works to be more like life itself embracing this amazing paradox.
At the moment, I’m into new stories, scenes and characters. While developing the painting work, as a book lover, I’d like to make a book with my paintings and stories in near future. I might call it a ‘book-exhibition project’. Maybe the next series would be the first attempt.
Of course, like other artists, I’m always eager to meet the like-minded collaborators or business partners(curator, gallerist, publisher…), because it’s hard to handle and develop the business side properly.
2005 Camberwell College of Arts, Book Art, MA