For his first exhibition at Office Baroque’s downtown gallery, Terence Koh (CN/CA) has built two earth covered rooms where visitors are invited to enter, and spend time contemplating 88 drawings. In the second room of the gallery, a robotic arm is continuously hitting a drum at 220 beats per minute which is the approximate speed to induce a trance state given the right vibration, a willing participant and conditions in the gallery space. Visitors are invited to lie down in this drum room and close their eyes for an indefinite time and imagine themselves entering a hole in the earth.
To explain the exhibition to the Brussels public, Koh has sent a letter to the gallery. The letter was reproduced in facsimile as a handout for visitors to the exhibition and describes in metaphoric terms, making use of both text and hand drawn illustrations, the relationship between his 88 drawings and the launch of the Voyager space capsule in 1977. Voyager 1 contains a set of gold discs carved with symbols and stories of our civilisation. Thinking of these silent stories frozen in space, Koh decided to make the 88 panels circling a campfire room that tell a story of our civilisation allowing us to explore and question, instead of explaining to extra terrestrials, who we are.
The artist has also buried a book titled “Drums”. The book contains 480 drawings by Koh that were made in 48 days using materials that were historically used to make cave paintings. The book tells a history of the visible and the invisible paradoxically by being permanently buried in the gallery’s dark earth floor. With the exhibition Koh is sending a message to ourselves in the here and now with Voyager 1 traveling at approximately 13,433,122,477 miles away from us.
Terence Koh has built a following with installations and performances that are characterized by a gothic sensitivity. His work is ritual in nature and uses objects and images to examine identity, meaning and their fetishisation. Koh’s recent interest for natural eco-systems, has led him to use organic materials, focusing on interaction and time based processes as metaphors for human thoughts, energy flows, civilization and life cycles. Equally circular is our collaboration with Koh which goes back to the year 2004 when we invited the artist for a three month residency at Extra City in Antwerp. Recent exhibitions by Terence Koh include Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, Galeria Horrach Moya, Palma de Mallorca, Moran Bondaroff, Los Angeles, and Koh Island at the Plaza Hotel in NY.