Brendan George Ko works in photography, video, installation, text and sound to produce works that are narrative both in content and in form. In doing so, he makes use of images collected from his life journey and his travel.
Ko sees his photographs as documentary of the times, places and people he photographs. In his representations of daily life, the artist juggles between the absurd and the usual, the surprising and the uninteresting.
I am creating and recreating a history of all that I am, with words, and images, so that I can remember beyond my memory, for a record of being.
Ko’s series is about the fake and the real and the idea that, when we are looking at an image and seeing something that looks staged, it could in fact be totally real. The artist has always liked the rhetorical question: “If you can’t tell the difference then why does it matter?” as well as the saying, “seeing is believing.” As a spectator, it is somehow absolutely fascinating to look at these photos and not know if it was by chance that Ko came across these people in strange postures or if he orchestrated it all. He did not. What Ko is trying to articulate in his work is how finding things out of the ordinary in the everyday life is also about receiving it as normal BUT absurd at the same time.
And Cheese! is a series of images that started in China, where it is common practice to smile, wave at the camera, and appear abnormally happy during a photo session. In that context, Ko saw a variety of situations that were extraordinary to his North American perspective and realized how enchanted he was by this spectacle that is just part of the culture in Asia. Afterwards, he started to catch moments like these everywhere.
Curator : Maude Arsenault