I am used to a nickname "bulldozer" given by my friends. Like the name shows, I powerfully push my works forward without a rest. Even though I Feel extremely lonely and empty during the whole time, l always eager for new works and intensely devote my self to them. Where else could we find the true beauty and quality of humanities? As an artist, I feel a great deal of resoonsibility as well as pride about what I do. Working in a spatial and temporal isolation from early morning to the next morning without speaking a word, I not only create sculptures but also train my body and soul. May my health allow me to keep continuing this work for a long time! This is my prayer.




An Invitation of Slingshot Bear in the Late Spring

Park Hyo Jin (Curator, Changwon Municipal Masan Moonshin Art Museum)

His image of a Korean woman who is inviting and voluptuous as if she can embrace everything in the Universe in her arms is the topic constantly pursued by Artist Koh, Jeong Soo. The abundance of woman's eternal wonders and mother nature and its interruptions has captured Koh Jeong Soo for over 50 years. The smooth and rough surfaces that translate the mood of women and nature is the new theme of his work for the invitational exhibition.

What is the reason he has deserted his signature sculptures of the "female form"? Why he has left the female form, which has shaped and been his topic of choice for decades? On one sunny day in April, I visited his studio in Yangpyeong, Gyeonggido with excitement and curiosity in my heart and mind, to discuss his new direction and theme. In our meeting, "he explained that he has concentrated on creating artworks day and night for the past 11 months since receiving the 12th annual Moonshin Art Award back in May of 2013. Koh Jeong Soo's energy and passion during our conversation reminded me of a new sculptor just getting ready for his first show. Just as Moonshin, the artist known for his passionate life as a hot furnace, created the sculpture of light in his later years. Koh had a new desire to create something new after receiving the Moonshin Art Award. This event triggered a new challenge for Koh Jeong Soo, to bring new direction and materials to his work. This is not his first attempt to offer a different direction and vision of the female form and its complex textures and stature. For his 15th solo show at the Sun Gallery, he took photographs of bodies lying on the sea or river or flying through the sky as free form objects, and pushed his vision for sculpture to through another medium.

Human body forms and sculptures has a long inseparable relationship since the birth of sculpture, going back to the prehistoric times along with animals. The majority of themes of prehistoric art were animals' not only on murals with shamanistic meanings but also sculptures of dogs, horses, and cats and its relationship to humans. Animals are naturally accepted as the second most popular theme in sculptures after the human body. Koh has been working with the two major topics; the human body and animals for decades and redefying these topics on his own terms.

Koh's special relationship with bears goes back a decade when he was requested by an acquaintance to help build 'Bear Tree Park' in Sejong City. There were about 150 Asian black bears residing at the park along with realistic sculptures of Asian black bears in the sculpture garden. The park tells an interesting story inspired by the fairy tale titled 'The Story of Slingshot Bear'. While spending hours observing the bears for this sculpture, Koh became familiar with the ecology of bears which transitioned his themes to address nature and relationship to our daily life.

Koh presents 27 new pieces on 'An Invitation of Slingshot Bear' as the Invitational Exhibition Winner of the 12th annual Moonshin Art Award. The bears in his works are enjoying playful activities as innocent children. The works capture- Bears spending happy times with their families, Hand-standing bears, bears playing horse-riding game, bears at tug-of-war, bears riding bicycles, bears at a wedding ceremony, the hug of a bear family, the mother bear playing with her cub, and a happy family of Asian black bears drawing hearts with their hands. Their happy smiles and dreamy faces bring pleasure to the viewers. The intent of an artist's work always draws an emotional reaction from the audience and no experience is the same. The translation of the artist's intentions through different media and expression and how this is shared through works of art is a process on its own.

As a member of society and witnessing various unfortunate incidents and issues on TV and social media, he maybe is addressing the lack of warmth and seeking to preserve the goodness of human nature. The bears in his work look realistic, but their personified gestures and simple voluptuous figures still convey a relationship to the female body forms. The white marble he has used symbolizes purity; similar to the ideal aesthetics of the Buddhist statue of Seokguram. The human body, which has been the standard of beauty since the Hellenic Period, is clearly represented by his female sculptural forms. The personified bears express the harmonious uniformity and comfort with ideal balance and proportion. The stone works exquisitely enhances the inherent property of the material and bridges Koh's past sculptures to the present.

We feel happy looking at his work mainly because of the visual from of facial gestures and poses but it is also largely influenced by the imagination. There are two or more bears hugging together, the mother bear hugging her cub, or the friendly bear brothers sitting together. The intimacy and closeness shared in some of the Koh's works cannot be expressed by words atone but through visual experience of space and materials. The intimacy shared between lovers, friends, and family solidifies the relationships and brings emotional stability in our world. The physical contact leads to emotional interaction and we can imagine the feeling of warmth that is transpiring between the bears though the coldness of materials.

From Koh's bronze works express more dynamic games and gestures of the bears. The actions of tug-of-war and riding bicycles translated by the rough textural surfaces match the dynamic figures of the bears. He transitions to a new material of aluminum wrapping to maximize the rough texture. The wrinkly aluminum shining under the lighting emits a strong energy despite its weight. The biggest accomplishment of this exhibition, above all, is the change of theme and unexpected use of materials. He has taken mundane materials such as aluminum wrappings and air filled balloon's instead of traditional materials related to previous sculptures.

At the entrance to the exhibition space at Moonshin Art Museum you are greeted with colorful air balloons of bears that are welcoming and ignite your memories of being in an amusement park as a child. The bear batons deflate down to a hand size package without air and gradually gain volume when inflated as if they are born again. This light and mundane material goes well with the theme as this welcomes the audiences to enter and experience the show. It seems that Koh has taken his work and ideology of luxury sculptures and has blurred boundaries in search of expanding the boundaries of highbrow and low brow art. His new work does not challenge the kitsch factor of contemporary art but exploring new ideas and materials in transitioning his new theme and sculptures.

Koh pursues to create works that will resonate with every class and every race. He pursues to create artworks that can be viewed and understood by everyday ordinary people. He asks his audience to think about their daily life and daily support of people around you. The different sizes of the bears represent not only mother nature but signifies our mothers, brothers, sisters, family and friends. Koh's mission statement is, "Art must be shared by everyone."


profile about Koh, Jeong Soo

Fine Art College and Graduate School B.A and M.F.A, Hongik University, Seoul Korea

Solo Exhibition 26times.
2016 Busan Gallery Joy
2015 Yangpyeong Bloomvista
2015 Seoul Rho
2014 Moonshin Museum of Art, Changwon
2011 Seoul Art Center, Seoul
2008 Coex, Seoul
2007 Sun Gallery, Seoul
2005 Seoul Art Center, Seoul
2001 Seoul Art Center, Seoul
2000 Seoul Art Center, Seoul
1999 Incheon Art center, Incheon
1999 Sun gallery, Seoul
1998 Seoul Art Center, Seoul
1996 Seoul Art Center, Seoul
1993 Invited by Soomock Gallery, Seoul
1991 Invited by Sun Gallery, Seoul
1989 Invited by Gana Gallery, Seoul
1986 Invited by Sun Gallery, Seoul
1986 Invited by Tygress Gallery, San Francisco
1983 Namdo Art Center, Gwangju
1983 Invited by Sun Gallery, Seoul and More...

A rules committee of Korea figurative sculpture grand exhibition by MBC
A member of Mokwoo group
A member of Hongik sculpture group
A member of Korea Figurative sculpture group
A member of World Art Forum

Public Collections
National Museum of Contemporary Art, Hoam Art Center, The National Assemble Building, Korea Broadcasting system, Solak Leisure Town, Seoul Children's Grand Park, korea air line Seosomun Building, Yoido Hanil Building, Asiana Building, Asan jungang Hospital, Jonju Paper Manufacturer, Lucky Goldstar training Institute, Horim Museum, Cheongju jeong food co., Samho Corporation, Hotel Shilla, Seoul Municipal Art Center, Hongik University Art Center, Sunkyung Group, Taeduck Research Complex, Incheon Municipal Museum, Arario Art CEnter, Chosun University Art Center, The Korea Racing Association

Major Experiences
A judge of National Art Grand Exhibition
A judge of MBC Korea Figurative Sculpture Association
Committee at Planning Dept. of Korea Art Association
Consulting Committee for displaying cultural objects in Taejeon EXPO
Selection Committee for the artists invited for Contemporary Art Exhibition
A judge of Public Subscription on Seoul Contemporary Sculpture
President of Korea Figuration Sculpture Association
A judge of National College Art Exhibition
A recommended artist to National Art Grand Exhibition
Professor at Fine Arts Dept. College in Chosun University

2013 Moon Shin Art Award (Moon Shin Museum)
1986 Sun Art Award (Sun Gallery)
1985 Kumho Art Award (Kumho cultural foundation)
1981 Grand Prize (The National arts exhibition)
1979 The minister of culture and information award (the National Arts exhibition)
1978~81 Special prizes awarded for four consecutive years at The National Arts Exhibition by The Minister of Culture and Information
1971 The Special prize awarded at The Korea Fine Art Grand Exhibition (Hankook Daily News)
1969~70 Grand prix at Sculpture field of the public subscription by Mokwoo Group

Group & Invitation Exhibitions more than 300times.

Artist's social networks
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