Koo Bohnchang attended Yonsei University majoring in Business Administration and later studied photography in Hamburg, Germany. He was a professor at Kaywon School of Art and Design, Chung Ang University, Seoul Institute of the Arts and a visiting professor in London Saint Martin School.
His works have been exhibited in over 30 solo exhibitions including Samsung Rodin Gallery, Seoul (2001), Peabody Essex Museum, Massachusetts (2002), Camera Obscura, Paris (2004), Kukje Gallery, Seoul, Kahitsukan Kyoto Museum of Contemporary Art (2006), Goeun Museum of Photography, Busan (2007) and Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia (2010).
His publications include ‘Deep Breath in Silence’, ‘Revealed Personas’, ‘Vessels for the Heart’, ‘How to Capture the Touching Moment’ in Korea and ‘Hysteric Nine’, ‘Vessel’, ‘Everyday Treasures’ in Japan.
In 1988, when Seoul was gearing up to host the Olympic Games, Korean photographer Koo Bohnchang had just returned from a long sojourn in Germany. An outsider in his own country, Bohnchang’s senses were acutely tuned to the messier parts of Korea’s shift; he found himself unsettled by Seoul’s treacherous way of marketing itself.
In his brilliant series Clandestine Pursuit in the Long Afternoon, Bohnchang positions fragments—furniture abandoned on the side of a road, statues, silhouettes of strangers, a close-up of a holstered gun—into a rhythmic whole that suggests a perilous, explosive atmosphere lingering just below the surface.
The Year 1985
It had only been six years of studying abroad,
but Seoul seemed no longer familiar to me.
The endless flood of vehicles and people, the noise.
A vortex of images flitting across my retina.
Construction, patriotism, falsehood, and vanity.
From dawn until the last neon light switched off,
This city was like the heavily breathing surface of a vast ocean.
I was in a strange city
to find something
unknown to myself.
I was wandering.