BIO

Christina Ko is a Korean American artist living and working in Queens, NY. She received her BFA from Cornell University in 2013 and has since then shown her work in Los Angeles, CA, Washington D.C., and in around NYC. Selected exhibitions include: “Internal Arrangements”, Trestle Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (2020); “Downloading Place”, Wave Hill, Bronx, NY (2019); “Fever Lure”, Selenas Mountain Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (2019); “Crossover: East and West”, Korean Cultural Center, Washington D.C. (2018). Her work has been featured in Gallery Gurls, the Arcade Project Zine, Hiss Magazine, The Fader magazine, The Washington Post, and Ballpit Magazine.

STATEMENT

I attempt to capture and examine the visual lexicon emerging from the multi-generational Asian presence in the U.S. through paintings, GIFs, and installations. Situated within a Western context, this lexicon often becomes an amalgam mixing iconography from “cute culture”, anime, imported cultural artifacts, domestic goods, food, fashion and popular culture. In using this vernacular, I aim to uncover shared visual connections within the broad Asian American experience. In so doing, I hope to complicate the Western bias that can appropriate or fetishize this aesthetic and at the same time, personalize an aesthetic that within East Asia is tied inextricably to Capitalism.

As a Korean American artist, I tapped into this aesthetic rooted in cuteness because I could relate to these images and artifacts instantly and easily, which directly contrasted the difficulty of negotiating two cultural identities. Within this aesthetic was an innate attraction tied to a desire to belong and an unknown distant homeland.

Cute iconography appears replicated and manipulated, popular characters are recast as symbols and domestic and daily life objects are re-imagined across my painted surfaces, digital images, and installations. More specifically, I rearrange known animated characters, iconography from social media , language fragments and everyday objects sourced from personal memory, social media, and cultural history. By doing so, I attempt to activate the home and the body as rich reference sites. The lexicon’s components are markers of time, evidence of presence, and identifiers of cultural connections. Oscillating between object and image, the work takes on the forms of this uncovered language and mirrors its ability of transforming, conforming, and contesting the negotiated ground between my Asian and American ties. I aim to legitimize and reclaim the living language born from an Asian American presence that is rich, beautiful and complex.