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Photographs of Bohnchang Koo

Bohnchang Koo, a pioneer and leader of the modern Korean photography, lives and works in Korea since the mid 1980s, after he returned from his several years’ study in Germany. The works featured in the Plain Beauty exhibition are from his more recent series, “Vessel.” In order to create the series, Koo visited museums with Korean art collections both in Korea and abroad, and photographed only plain white porcelains.

Initially, Koo felt that there was a “distance” between the camera, a modern and mechanical medium, and the white porcelain, with its classical and natural beauty. Through more than two years of work on the series, Koo eventually realized that his focus had to be the essence and inner sensibility of the vessels, not the visible outer shape. This corresponded exactly to the ideas of the people who lived during the Joseon Period. To them, conveying and appreciating the essence of these objects was also more important than perfecting the shape or lavishly decorating the surface. Due to his efforts to personify the quintessence, the white porcelains reborn through his lens seem to possess certain personalities, almost like portraits.