When I was reading the press release for Koak’s newest solo show, The Driver, her first show with Perrotin and opening at their Seoul space on May 21st, one line stood out: “shouldn’t really go together.” It was a comment made in regards to color choices, trying to blend colors that didn’t really work together normally but created a new hue and balance. I love that insight about Koak because whether you see the works in person or on the screen, her colors are, indeed, new. Her characters of course are a hybrid and “about archetypes of self that we have that are developed throughout our life or are internalized by experience,” as she has said in the past. And her colors are a hybrid as well. 

As the pandemic and our life in isolation has raged on, Koak’s work has been a completely stunning metaphor of the times, whether a contemplative analysis of self or of looking out the proverbial window at others and their own personal sacrifices and feelings. “I can find myself in any of the pieces,” Koak has said. “Some fragment of myself. A skewed mirror. A version that I felt once. But at the same time I can see each one entirely not as me. A fiction, a part of a friend or loved one, a stand-in for broader society, a historical trope, or an archetype reimagined.”

Text by Evan Pricco