1–29 June 1997 / Casco HQ
At first glance, the exhibition space at Casco appears empty and deserted. A ladder, table and chair look lost. Only after a moment does it become apparent that Koo Jeong-a is allowing the space to tell its own history: a story of use, with the holes, repairs, scratches and cracks it brings with it. Like a poetic incantation, her handwriting covers the cracks and stains; her almost invisible, penciled graffiti, recording recipes with endless lists of ingredients from a Korean medical handbook, extends like a virus across the space.
Koo Jeong-a often chooses spaces that are not designated for showing art, which through their intermediary nature have a character all of their own: a garage, attic, or stairway. Like an archaeological investigation she explores the source that is the space – not only the stuff that she comes across there, but the space too becomes the subject of study. She empties it like a trouser pocket, turns it upside down and inside out. A simple intervention with a color transforms her studio into a swimming pool. KooJeong-a is interested in materials which are condemned, excluded and regarded as unartistic. She fiddles with the distinctions we make between rubbish and useful things, and confuses their functions. In past work she has made a series of houses out of sugar cubes, pushed flower seeds into a wall, and placed a pane of glass over a hole in the ground on which condensation collected. Her interventions make the invisible visible. They are poetically concentrated, sometimes meditative. The path her work takes from chaos to order is not that of striving towards a goal, but an act: unostentatious, subtle and humorous.