John Wood and Paul Harrison, installation view from ‘I DIDN’T KNOW I DIDN’T KNOW IT’, Contemporary Art Gallery, February 12 – April 24, 2016. Photography by SITE Photography

Publication Review | Germaine Koh

A vivid, light cerulean blue square catches your eye on the glossy softcover publication Germaine Koh. This exhibition catalogue documents Koh’s artistic practice and exhibition Germaine Koh, which was presented at the CAG in 2001. Essays by Laura U. Marks and Keith Wallace describe Koh’s overarching methodology and interests, interwoven between their own interpretations of the two artworks presented at the time: (2000) and Prayers (1999).

Detailed readings and coloured photographs of …, Prayers, and earlier works explore the artists’ oeuvre. What at first glance seems like an inconsistent and diverse visual language is explained by Marks and Wallace. Koh strategically highlights the surprisingly predictable quality of supposedly random systems and routines we mindlessly follow and embody every day. By bringing these systems into the gallery space, Marks and Wallace argue that Koh is able to organize, identify and map the patterns in what is seen and thought of as pure chance.

Koh’s interest in the everyday and unnoticed systems provides the notional framework which determines the physical manifestation of her ephemeral experiences. She enjoys using banal but unpredictable materials in ways that differ from their usual purposes. For example, Koh exhibited pachinko balls that dropped from the gallery ceiling and congregated in various areas around the floor in (2000). She also presented puffs of smoke that were the result of translations of texts found on various computers housed in the gallery in Prayers (1999). Through her conceptual practice, Koh asks the viewer to reconsider and question their usual position and perspectives in relation to art. This question is then further extended, asking the viewer to reconsider their relationship and position in the seemingly static, concrete systems and beliefs outside of the gallery walls.

Germaine Koh was produced alongside the 2001 exhibition Germaine Koh and can be purchased in person at the CAG shop or online.