Ko Young-Hoon was born in 1952 on Jeju Island, Korea.
« It was at university that my attachment to the stones present in my work was at its strongest. An informal atmosphere reminded me of my rejection of nature, but also my adoration of it. At the time, my favourite subjects were pure and natural things, such as stones, trees, water, sky. I chose stones as a subject matter as I felt they represented the most primal aspect of nature. Stones for me at the time, represented a large, idealised universe and a transcendent world, set apart from reality. But with time, I gave them a more conceptualised meaning, considering them from a logical viewpoint, and they became both a material and descriptive element. The material element inspires interest in an object and represents a coexistence with nature and culture, ie the stone represented a primitive culture and generalised it as a reality and an ideal.
My life makes the meaning of stones change, and transforms them from reality into a symbol. It is a human contradiction that results from a difference between a naturalness and an intelligence. But that particular contradiction means that two extreme aspects coexist, and are even guided to a form of harmony. It is like an image being created by two eyes focussing. I don't think my criteria for choice is based on logic or a theory that only changes with time and depending on my mood. To begin with I chose straight, slightly pointed stones because I associated them with the suffering in my life and a critical conscience. But over time, I started preferring curved, round, rolling, mossy stones. My criteria went from the extreme to moderation. In any case, talking about the choice of stone, it isn't really me who chooses them. It is both the stones and I who choose each other. The stones and I have a certain common sense. Modifying the surface of my paintings is made necessary by the demands of my life, as well as the stones' demands.
When I painted stones for the ﬁrst time, their surface was painted in white in order to complete the stones that were considered a transcending ideal subject. But when I needed a strong expression of reality in life, I painted newspapers, a page from a book, and in particular a relationship between them and the stones on a surface. In other words, I became interested in the problems relating to the stones as a symbol, and the message in the printed letters, on a real representation of spatiality which included a mechanical relationship created by gravity or weightlessness, on a correspondence depending on the position of the stones…
(…) I am like a viewer who pulls a sublime image from the stone, a meditative zen image, and sets it against a printed book as a symbol of intelligence. My work with stones creates a tense harmony between paradoxical extremes. But my intention implies change depending on the course of my life, and in order to ﬁnd a new meaning, I let myself be guided by a new current ».
Ko Young-Hoon, Stones and I
Galerie Alain Blondel, Paris
Private Collection, acquired in 1993
Ko Young-Hoon, Gana Art Gallery publisher, Seoul 1992, reproduced p.67
Ko Young-Hoon, paintings, Ramsay Editions, Paris 1993, reproduced p.31