(South Korea, 1996)
BeomJu Ko (b.1996) graduated Kyungsung University with a B.F.A in Interior Architecture Design. He worked in a major museum for two years, where he worked between the exhibition halls and the storage spaces; he gained frequent and close exposure to national treasures and relics. Inspired by those close encounters, he continues to work on themes of treasures and relics.
When the present passes beyond our immediate existence in space-time, it becomes the past. There, the artist identifies two possible futures for that moment. One is to be forgotten and gone. The other is to become treasured, a valued relic. Between this duality and across digital media, sculpture, flat painting, and design, Ko is fleshing out his own visual art.
He approaches his practice with the self-determined mindset of an archaeologist. Excavation in that context becomes the careful reconsideration of the periphery, and iterative practices eventually result in the unearthing of treasures. The term treasure evokes something sophisticated or elaborate, but the artist describes it as something requiring effort and even consideration for the trivial or even the unexpected. At other times, it can be something that he had cherished all that time.
TRAVI is a recurring character that the artist frequently introduces in his works as an avatar. TRAVI maintains an ambivalent stare despite the numerous ways he appears: sitting on a box, looking at a small flower, or holding a broken hat in his bosom. Sometime in the far, far future where all knowledge and trace of the present has been lost, these treasures and relics are rediscovered and analyzed with the hopes of using them as portals to a different time and age where they made sense, where they had meaning.
Possibly after eons, gold survives as the immutable substrate of value, and the surviving things of the past are cast across time in gold. Working between metaphors of time, treasure, relics, and how they all fit together, the artist opens a plot of questions, encouraging spectators to step on in to start excavating what is valuable to them.