In her abstract paintings of deconstructed buildings and forces of colour, Seoul-based artist Koo Jiyoon captures the rapidly changing cityscapes and psychology of their urban residents.Read More
Born and raised in Seoul, Koo Jiyoon attended Korea National University of Arts in the capital. Upon graduation in 2006, she went on to receive another BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007. When she briefly returned to Korea, Koo found her native Seoul unfamiliar with its seemingly unending series of demolitions and renovations. The artist's impression of the city as a dynamic entity strengthened during her time in New York, where she received her MFA from New York University in 2010. It was then that she began to paint abstract works to visualise her perceptions of the urban landscape.
Koo Jiyoon's paintings are characterised by chunks of paint, unevenly distributed on the canvas, and unrelenting brushstrokes that recall the restless energy of the city. The artist has described painting as a product of the 'violence of boredom', which in turn results from her practice of inviting boredom and inactivity before she starts painting to deliberately build 'negative energy'.
In her solo exhibition Purple Noise, presented at Seoul's Arario Museum in Space in 2018, Koo Jiyoon showed paintings inspired by her travels to Hong Kong. As she had similarly experienced in Seoul and New York, Koo heard endless streams of construction noises in Hong Kong—even at night—and portrayed the commotion as pools of paint and erratic lines. Dark purple dominates Purple Noise (2017), the eponymous painting and centrepiece of the exhibition, framed by strings of green paint that weave in and out of the centre of the canvas, while the brushstrokes are more disorientating and turbulent in Orange Asphalt (2018).
TONGUE & NAIL, Koo Jiyoon's solo exhibition at Arario Gallery Seoul in 2021, concentrates on the fate of buildings in an ever-changing city. As she was preparing for the show, Koo observed the contrast between the processes of demolishing old apartment complexes and erecting new buildings—noticing that they both contribute to the many faces of an urban landscape. The exhibition title references Koo's perception of the two organs: tongue, soft and slippery, permanently a part of the body; and nails, dry and hard, which grow and are regularly removed, thus evoking the changeability of buildings.
Koo Jiyoon's solo exhibitions include TONGUE & NAIL, Arario Gallery, Seoul (2021); Purple Noise, Arario Museum in Space, Seoul (2018); Heavy Jokes, Project Space SARUBIA, Seoul (2016); The Ghost on the Back of the Painting, Gallery 175, Seoul (2011); and But Nothing Happening, A.I.R. Gallery, New York (2011).
Selected group exhibitions include The 13th Hesitation, Arario Gallery, Cheonan (2021); Allover, HITE Collection, Seoul (2018); The Exquisite Bond of the Hydrogen Corpse, ONE AND J. +1, Seoul (2017); Korea Tomorrow 2014, Design Exhibition Hall, DDP (Dongdaemun Design Plaza), Seoul (2014); and Force of Nature, The Horticultural Society of New York (2010).
Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2021
Exhibition view: Koo Jiyoon, TONGUE & NAIL, Arario Gallery, Seoul (3 August–25 September 2021). Courtesy Arario Gallery.