©2017-2018 by Reciprocal art magazine

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    Donghwan

    Ko

    "I am interested in exploring the spaces that I have occupied in my past and the space I occupy in the present. My works revolve heavily around strong affiliation towards understanding the dynamic nature of the spaces which we define as home."

    House of Red Lines, 2018, pen on paper, each 21 x 29 cm

    How did you get started as an artist?

    When I was in high school, I wanted to be an animator, as I really liked watching animations on TV. My friends would also constantly ask me to draw for them, so it felt like a natural fit. However, in the late 1990s there were no universities in Korea that taught animation. So, I decided to go to a fine arts school, as I thought that offered the closest alternative to animation. After all, drawing is an important part of the curriculum in both fine arts and animation. I enjoyed studying fine arts at the university and I also found it very meaningful to create things. After graduation, my artistic life began in earnest.

    What is it about the concept of home and the spaces that we occupy that interests you the most?

    I am interested in exploring the spaces that I have occupied in my past and the space I occupy in the present. I have moved house many times in my life, from a very small bedsit to my present house that I share with my wife, and everything in between. So, I have always had questions about space and home. I wonder how I locate myself between thresholds and how I transition from one physical/psychological space to another. What is private and what is public? What is inside and what is outside? What should be revealed and what should be concealed?

    left: Home Fragile Home, 2018, pen on paper, each 10 x 15 x 10 cm

    right: installation of Home Fragile HomeHouse of Blue Lines, and House of Red Lines

    In your artist statement you say that “ . . . a home is paradoxically comfortable, warm, complex, limited, temporary, divided, and empty,” which seems to be clearly reflected in House of Red Lines and House of Blue Lines. Could you talk about your process while creating these drawings?

    When I was staying in Berlin, I often saw the buildings on one side of wall that were empty or divided because of World War II. I was very impressed by the variety of building shapes, so I started the red lines drawing. The House of Blue Lines was inspired by the different abstract shapes of wall tiles from Lisbon. I wanted to express various impressions of the surroundings that I noticed while living in different countries. Also, I attempted to show how a space can be easily transformed by a variety of external characteristics just through simple line drawings.

    What were you making before your current body of work, and how did it inform your more recent pieces?

    I created a house-shaped work out of timber and the surface of the work was finished by my repeatedly weaving yarn. I was inspired by the action of continually wrapping the surface. For me, repetition offers feelings of security and ritual; it allows me to fulfil a task while unconsciously processing my thoughts and research. I decided to use primary colours that might be typical of those in children’s toys to elicit feelings of happiness and playfulness.  After I started residency programmes in Berlin, Lisbon, and London in 2018, I decided to use paper for its lightness and ease of transportation. I have continued to use primary colours and acts of repetition and adapted those aspects of art-making into my paper work series.

    House of Blue Lines, 2018, pen on paper, each 30 x 40 cm

    What is your studio practice like?

    Before starting to create work, I spend most of my time reading books and watching movies or dramas in the studio. Sometimes I spend the whole day quietly sitting down, listening to soft songs, and making peaceful drawings, but other days I produce works through physical labor that includes cutting wood and using a hammer.