ROGER KATWIJK, Amsterdam
My work continues to evolve as I experiment with the texture, thickness, width, and color of paper as sculptural material. My work also continues to evolve as a conceptual practice—the transformation of everyday objects into something extraordinary. I love working with paper because it challenges me to use a common medium to create uncommon forms that provide audiences with new visual and sensual experiences. At times I am able to transform the paper; at other times the paper transforms itself. These acts also transform the surrounding space, as well as the perspective of the viewer.
— Jae Ko, 2019
Jae Ko (b. 1961 Pyongtaek, Korea; lives and works in Washington DC) makes startling three dimensional objects from immense amounts of paper, such as from rolls of calculator or crepe paper. Experimenting with texture, thickness, breadth and colour, she pushes the sculptural boundaries of the material. She tends to favour primary colours and darker tints, with recurring reappearances of yellows and reds. Beyond the dyes, she uses many types of ink, seawater, sand, and debris before baring her works to the effects of the sun. In these ways, she intensively manages the metamorphosis of paper to final, profoundly elegant forms. Ko has an affinity for coils, spirals, and other symmetrical forms that repeat and return to central points. These forms have their origin in topography and geology, but Ko also finds continual inspiration in the arresting juncture between human-designed architecture and the natural landscape.
Jae Ko trained at the Tokyo School of Art and Wakio University, also in Tokyo. In 1998 she moved to the United States, where she completed her Master of Fine Arts diploma. Since then, Ko has exhibited in some of the most significant art spaces in Japan, China, and the US. As an example, she was featured in the Force of Nature installation at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, some three years ago. Her piece involved an accumulation of hundreds of rolls of paper that slumped and settled against the wall of the museum. The starting point was the melting of the Antarctic ice cap. The Force of Nature project was to be found in the Flow exhibit in Houston’s Contemporary Art Museum in 2016, and this year at the Powerlong Museum in Shanghai.