Terence Koh Performa 09

Terence Koh’s Untitled, a stack of thirty-three glass cases, is a striking presence in the Contemporary galleries.  Almost every case contains an artifact that’s been painted white. Some of these date back to the artist’s childhood while others are from friends and lovers, or flea markets. The sculpture is like a shrine that preserves meaningful relics from various chapters of Koh’s life. Unlike many artists, he embraces the effects of entropy and decay on his work, such as mold, or glass shattered in transit.


Terence Koh (born China, 1977). Untitled (Vitrines), 2006. Mixed media, variable. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Peres Projects, Inc., 2008.34.

The piece is part of a larger body of monochrome work in which Koh explores the meanings of white in different cultures, ranging from purity to mourning. With its investigation of temporality and allusions to eventual death, the Brooklyn Museum’s glass stack provides an introspective counterpoint to Koh’s flamboyant public persona. (See his website) Sex and death are themes that run obsessively throughout all aspects of his work.

As part of Performa 09, Koh will be at the Brooklyn Museum on November 7th for Target First Saturday to perform Saaqiou. At 9:30 p.m., he will be performing and DJing in the Rubin Pavillion, incorporating the Rodin sculptures.