FORUM MASTER NIGHT: ESPEN JOHANSEN
THE ART OF TERENCE KOH: "ARTIST'S ARTIST OR THE MOST POPULAR ARTIST?"
At the semester's last Master Night, Espen Johansen will talk about his brand new master thesis The art of Terence Koh - "artist's artist, or the most popular artist?". In remarkably short time, Terence Koh has become an internationally recognized artist, partly because of his use of unconventional materials such as chocolate, and his experience-based works that exposes the viewer to overwhelming sensory stimuli from the strong (pulsing) lights, or the intense smell of perfume and incense.
Although Koh’s works in recent years have been shown at major museums and art institutions around the world, there are only a few publications dealing with Koh’s art. On the other hand, there are countless articles about the celebrity Koh, in fashion magazines, online newspapers and hip art blogs. Here, Koh is often portrayed as an eccentric artist who lives a jet set life in high society, and in Johansen’s opinion his works are not given the attention they deserve.
Amazed that not more is written about Koh’s art, Johansen has devoted his thesis to some of his central works. On the basis of his readings, he places Koh within an art historical context and examines how art theoretical perspectives promote alternative understandings of the works. For example, the concept of romanticism grasps several key aspects of his works, such as his accentuation of the artist-subject, and Nicolas Bourriaud’s semionaut-concept may shed light on Koh’s repeated use of religious symbols and (art-) historical references.
Espen Johansen finished his master's thesis in art history at the University of Bergen earlier this month. Besides studies, Johansen has led the student council in art history over the past year, and works as a gallery host and cafeteria worker at Hordaland Art Centre, and as a communicator at the Bergen Kunstmuseum. He has also held commissions at other institutions, such as the Bergen International Festival, B-open and Borealis.
Master Night is a series of lectures where both MA students and recently graduated art historians present their MA dissertations to a public. With Master Night Hordaland Art Centre wishes to bridge the gap between the academic and practicing art scenes in Bergen, and create a place for interaction between students and professionals.
Eva Rem Hansen is responsible for this program and Master Night is made possible due to good help from the study committee of Art History at the University of Bergen.