This summer, Chinese-Canadian artist Terence Koh brings his unique brand of sculptural performance to The Fireplace Project in the high-society woodlands of Easthampton. Koh’s “yes pleased” will run through August 12 and features the eerie and erotic minimalism that has shaped his career from its beginnings, when the artist moonlighted under the monicker asianpunkboy.
“yes pleased,” like much of Koh’s previous work, is a practice in contrast – the artist first gained recognition for gold-plating his own feces and selling the piece for $500,000 – but this time around, there is a practiced restraint in the work, evidenced by the lower-case consistency and severely minimalist collection of artwork. A collection of eggs, alternately covered in gold or left in crystalline white, sit unadorned on wooden and marble shelves and around the space, observing the observers in a humdrum melancholy accentuated by their titles: the captions are bizarre and beautiful, sporting intensely personal messages of familial discontent – secrets revealed with playful misspellings and grandiose emotional reverberations that leave one unsure whether to laugh or brood over Koh’s avowal that “my son ate my family knot knowing about beauty.”
Terence Koh, big white cock (2012)
The exhibit’s centerpiece, “big white cock,” welcomes guests inside the space with a bright neon glow. The hanging rooster is indeed a big white cock, and serves as a not-so-subtle reminder of Koh’s ability to infuse all his pieces with an omnipresent humor that harkens back to his beginnings creating his own zines an outlandish website. Rather than including bits of his own hair or fecal matter, however, Koh’s personal involvement in “yes pleased” is limited to the familial captions and offhand references to a sexuality that has often taken center stage in his work.
Terence Koh, my son ate my family knot knowing about beauty (2012)
Perhaps it is no coincidence that the aristocratic setting of Easthampton plays host to Koh’s most bizarrely lackadaisical exhibition. Whether as an affront to the bourgeoisie or as a nod to their own gold-plated lifestyle, “yes pleased” seems effortless – not necessarily lazy or sloppy, but a fluid continuation of the themes that this audience out in the manicured woods would recognize as being “Koh.”
All photos courtesy of The Fireplace Project