Bohnchang Koo

Bohnchang Koo: Contemporary Korean Photography

On view November 6, 2002 to February 18, 2003

Located in the: Special Exhibition Galleries

The first retrospective mounted by an American museum of the work of Bohnchang Koo opened to the public on November 6 at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. The exhibition featured 22 photographs, representing a broad spectrum of the Korean photographer’s work, including images from two major series “White” and “In the Beginning.”

Among the photographs on display is a series of pictures entitled “In the Beginning” that are about physical conflict and the frustration of things gained and things postponed. This conflict is set in the landscape of modern Korea where Korean artists are trying to discover a particular and exact Korean artistic persona. Koo says of his photography: “For me the most exciting adventure I can think of is not flinging a camera over my shoulder and heading off to some unexplored place. For me the thing of real value is looking for what is inside of me.”

Koo, one of the premier Korean photographers working today, was born into a prominent family in 1953. He received a B.A. in Business Administration from Yonsei University in Seoul and began his adult life by working in an office. Dissatisfaction with his career caused him to move to Germany in 1980, where he studied design and photography. In 1985, Koo returned to Korea, and during the next fifteen years exhibited his work in Korea, Japan, Germany, Denmark, and the United States. At present, his work is in collections in Australia, Germany, Iceland, Japan, Korea, and the United States. He has been professor of photography at the Kaywon School of Art and Design in Seoul, Korea since 1999.